COVID-19: EMERGENCY response

COVID-19: EMERGENCY RESPONSE A special report on the ADA crisis response team

Every dental practitioner has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but few are privy to the ins and outs of how the Australian dental sector successfully managed its most significant and turbulent challenge. In this feature, we recount the most significant events as they unfolded through the eyes of the ADA’s crisis response team.

I t began in January. Well before the Australian public were concerned about the impact of the pending pandemic and the novel Coronavirus seemed confined to the Chinese province of Wuhan, rumblings from dental practices started to reach the ADA that face masks were becoming difficult to find and prices had started to increase. Recognising the immediate threat of constrained or exhausted supply of critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), the ADA formed a national crisis response team that had one objective – to ensure the continued supply of face masks to Australian dental practitioners and keep the sector open.

A global mask shortage With the majority of the global supply of face masks coming from China, global government stockpiling for frontline healthcare workers, and the lack of domestic manufacturing of masks in many countries including Australia, it was the perfect storm. Responding quickly, the ADA team gathered intelligence on supply constraints and shifts in demand, working proactively with Australian dental suppliers and distributors to manage and ration stock and to keep prices reasonable. Additionally they created a range of educational materials for dental professionals on mask use and strategies to conserve stock on hand, and most importantly, actively connected ADA members and their practices to suppliers with remaining stock when they needed it.

2 | ADA – JULY 2020

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