March 13, 2020 (See the March 6, 2020 update)
AGD continues to monitor COVID-19 and work to identify resources and information that are useful to our members. Our team is also working with federal agencies and legislators to advocate for policies that support general dentists, focusing on issues
related to delivering patient care and managing your practice.
The following includes some resources, news, reminders and resources for guidance as you prepare for COVID-19 patients in your office, seek to answer questions from your patients and work to limit further spread.
Supply Management Reminder: Due to high demand, some manufacturers and distributors are limiting the sale of protective gear, including face masks. AGDVANTAGE supplier DHPI is still honoring our agreement and will continue to sell these supplies at the AGD discount. Supplies are limited. For more information, check out AGDVANTAGE.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Transmission routes of 2019-nCoV and controls in dental practice (International Journal of Oral Science)
The Coronavirus and Your Job: what the Boss Can—and Can’t—Make You Do (The Wall Street Journal)
Practice Management Reminders and Resources
Managing your practice during this time is difficult. Use the content list below when preparing for communication with your patients and team members.
STEPS TO STOP THE TRANSMISSION
Places of employment, including dental facilities, may be ideal for the spread of disease. Below are recommendations for how to stop transmission:
- Communication with patients and employees
- Provide training on occupational safety and health (OSHA training) that includes infection prevention, to all new employees and annual training to all employees.
- Review the proper use and disposal of personal protective equipment (PPE) for all employees.
- The dental team should advise patients and staff who are experiencing acute respiratory illness, including symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath, to remain home and reschedule appointments.
- Emphasize staying home when sick, proper respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene for all employees:
- Place posters that encourage correct cough/sneeze etiquette as well as proper hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace.
- Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees and patients.
- Instruct employees to clean/disinfect their hands between patients with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol. Soap and water should be utilized preferentially if hands are visibly contaminated and must always be used before eating and after toileting
- Provide soap and water as well as alcohol-based hand rubs in multiple locations throughout the workplace.
- Advise employees to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.
- Perform environmental surface cleaning and disinfection:
- It appears that the coronavirus may live on hard surfaces, at room temperature, for up to several days.
- Provide disposable disinfectant wipes so that commonly used surfaces (e.g. doorknobs, keyboards, armrests, remote controls, countertops, desks, etc.) may be decontaminated.
- No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning and disinfection is recommended at this time.
Reprinted from Compliance Training Partners
SIMPLE PREVENTATIVE MEASURE REMINDERS
AGD encourages the implementation of a few simple preventative measures to limit the spread of COVID-19:
- Promote the daily practice of everyday preventive actions. We encourage all attendees to practice daily good health habits to prevent the spread of any virus. Please review the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations for everyday preventive actions.
- We are discouraging individuals who are sick, who have been exposed to the virus, or who have traveled to and from an affected area from attending events and to leave events if they begin to have symptoms. If you have symptoms of a virus, which could include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, you are discouraged from attending the event and encouraged to follow CDC guidelines. If you become sick at the event, please promptly follow CDC guidelines and notify event organizer by email or phone. See CDC guidance on what to do when sick.
March 6, 2020
There is a growing body of knowledge about COVID-19, the 2019 coronavirus disease, being released by public health experts around the world. AGD has compiled resources and information for members and will provide regular updates.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), coronaviruses are a family of viruses common in many animal species, including cats, cattle and bats, and do not commonly infect humans. However, some coronaviruses evolve and are transmitted from animals to humans, and these infections can then spread from person to person. New strains of coronavirus recently identified in humans have included severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which caused deadly outbreaks of disease in 2002 and 2012, respectively.
Precautions to Prevent the Spread of Respiratory Disease
The CDC recommends doing the following:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home from school or work when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Infection Control: According to the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP), a dental association that advocates for infection-free oral healthcare, the Center for Disease Control recognizes that healthcare facilities may experience temporary shortages of face masks even if they do not care for patients with COVID-19. “If your facility is concerned about a potential or imminent shortage of PPE, CDC recommends you alert your state/local health department and local healthcare coalition, as they are best positioned to help facilities troubleshoot through temporary shortages. Dental health professionals concerned about healthcare supply for personal protective equipment (PPE) should monitor Healthcare Supply of Personal Protective Equipment for updated guidance and be familiar with the Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations.”
Recommendations from Larry Williams, DDS, ABGD, MAGD
- Discuss the current COVID-19 outbreak with your staff. Develop a consistent message that the patient’s well-being is the practice’s No. 1 consideration and that the use of standard precautions keeps everyone safe. You can also find resources on the websites of the OSAP and the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Review the CDC’s standard precaution guidelines with your staff, and make sure that they are being followed.
- Let your patients know that you are practicing these precautions as a routine part of your practice and that your precautions are in compliance with CDC guidelines.
- Download the free public health posters and leaflets offered by the CDC and WHO, and share them with your patients. Among the relevant topics are hand-washing (CDC, WHO) and influenza.