How do I keep my team, my patients, and myself safe? This is the topic foremost on everyone’s mind and one we’re researching every day. We’re constantly evolving and building on these areas as interim guidelines are being released and updated, and new ideas or new clarifications are being brought to the table. To the left you’ll find a variety of additional pages dedicated to helping you navigate the changes to infection control.
CDC and ADA recommendations are now more closely aligned. Individual state dental boards and health departments should be consulted for enforceable regulations, which may be more prescriptive than the CDC and ADA recommendations.
The CDC has addressed key concepts around dental settings Interim Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Dental Settings During the COVID-19 Response.
Additional CDC Resources
Last Updated 4/7/20
The ADA has created a Return to Work Interim Guidance Toolkit with advice from beginning to end of a patient visit for all involved from the Dentist and team to the patient before dental care starts, during dental care, and after dental care has been provided.
Last Updated 6/1/20
Webinar – COVID-19 Infection Control Protocols & Procedures – 1 CE Credit
On March 20, 2020, the ADA teamed up with leading infection control experts from OSAP to provide the dental community with practical guidance and education as we navigate the challenges associated with COVID-19.
The complete webinar is available to watch and earn 1 free CE credit.
Last Updated 3/20/20
“Understanding Face Masks” from the ADA
The ADA provides guidance on type, use, and fit, for surgical masks, N95 masks, and N95 equivalent mask KN/KP95, PFF2, P2, DS/DL2, Korean Special 1st.
Last Updated 4/20/20
In this video OSHA covers Respirator Fit Testing. Learn what it is and why it’s necessary to protect your health and safety.
Last Updated 4/22/20
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued guidance for businesses reopening and recommends businesses conduct a hazard assessment for all jobs. They also clarified OSHA’s position on temperature checks, coronavirus testing, and face masks.
- Employers may perform daily temperature checks and health assessments of employees, so long as the checks are administered transparently and fairly and anyone performing the checks is protected from possible infection. However, asking employees to self-check at home may be more efficient, especially when paired with sick-leave policies that encourage workers to stay home if they feel ill. Temperature screening “may have limited utility on its own,” OSHA wrote.
- Employers don’t have to keep a record of temperature checks or other health assessments for returning employees (unless state or local guidelines require it). If they do, those records could qualify as medical records under OSHA’s Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records standard and would then have to be stored confidentially for the length of the worker’s employment, plus 30 years.
- If PPE is required but not available, and there are no other ways to safely do the job, “the work tasks must be discontinued,” OSHA wrote.
During a time when resources are scarce, the EPA has put together a list of products meeting their criteria for use against the virus causing COVID-19. They have even created a handy tool to help you find the disinfectant you’re seeking.
*Please note, all products referenced are for use on surfaces, not people.
Contact tracing is a critical step in slowing the spread of COVID-19. As communities begin to reopen and social contact increases, so will the opportunities to transmit infection. Contact tracing is also a key requirement in many states, in order for them to reopen.
- Notifying contacts as soon as possible of the possible exposure
- Maintaining patient confidentiality by only informing the contact that he or she may have been exposed – never identifying the source patient
- Encouraging contacts to stay home and maintaining social distance (at least 6 feet) from others for at least 14 days from the last exposure incident
- Informing contacts they could spread the virus, even if they are not ill
The California Dental Association has compiled an easy-to-follow flow chart should you need to report COVID-19 symptoms or positive tests for your employees or patients.
The CDC updated its guidance on Oct 21st to define a close contact as:
“Someone who was within six feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.”
The Society for Human Resource Management dives into potential complications for employers and actions you can take.
Last Updated 10/28/20
Public Health authorities are asking dentists to assist in contact tracing. What can practices share and still comply with HIPAA regulations? In this PDF, the ADA addresses exactly that – Contract Tracing by Public Health Agencies and HIPPA Disclosures.
Last Updated 6/4/20
Contact Tracing. What is it? How does it work? What do I need to do? All these questions are answered in the ADA’s PDF – Contact Tracing: Stemming the Spread of COVID-19.
Last Updated 6/2/20
The safety of your team, patients, and yourself is at the forefront right now. Gowns, gloves, masks, and respirators – all the PPE items you need to convey the safety of your practice. With that concern comes the added costs of those now necessary PPE safety measures. Read more…
While designed to keep patients safe, do your new protocols change the patient’s perception of safety? In addition to implementing your new safety standards and infection control protocols, implement communication strategies to relieve anxiety and foster trust to deepen the patient-provider relationship. Read more…