16 December 2021

COVID-19 update - omicron variant and vaccinations

Our last COVID-19 update for 2021 including information about the omicron variant and vaccination. ADAVB members please refer to your full update via email.

Omicron update

The recent surge in cases, driven in part by the new omicron variant, is of particular concern. Although Victoria continues to see 1000 to 1600 cases per day, NSW has seen a dramatic surge, from 200 to 1700 cases per day over the past 10 days. Based on current trends, these case numbers will continue to increase through December, and this is in line with the modelling from the Burnet Institute that the Victorian Government has been relying on. We are not yet seeing this translate into more people with serious illness requiring admission to hospital or ICU, but there is ongoing concern regarding the pressure on the health care system.

Risk management

Patients who are suspected at risk based on symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (cough, sore throat, fever, shortness of breath or runny nose) or isolating as residing with a positive case, should be screened and have their appointment deferred. We continue to recommend that non-clinical staff wear a mask when dealing with patients and other visitors, and that these patients and visitors wear a mask in the practice.

Mandatory vaccination

The Victorian Government recently passed new legislation to allow them to continue to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. The Minister for Health has now issued Pandemic COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Specified Facilities) Order 2021 (No. 1), which came into effect at 11:59pm on 15 December 2021 and ends at 11:59pm on 12 January 2022. This order continues the requirement for all staff working in dental practices to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

For further information please refer to your full member update or visit adavb.org/covid.