We at Revitalizing Smiles are taking every precaution and recommendation from the CDC to ensure our dental practice remains healthy.
In response to the rapidly evolving news surrounding coronavirus, we are taking the following actions recommended by the Connecticut State Dental Association to combat the spread and reduce the risk of infection.
Dear valued member,
The situation around the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is rapidly evolving and the number of cases in Connecticut is growing daily. Governor Ned Lamont declared a state of emergency on March 12, 2020, and subsequently has taken many steps to limit the transmission of the disease in our state.
Like all of you, the Connecticut State Dental Association (CSDA) Board of Governors has been closely monitoring the spread of the coronavirus. As of the writing of this notice on Monday, March 16, 2020 there are no mandatory restrictions specific to dentistry in Connecticut.
That said, the Board of Governors recognizes that many routine dental procedures have the potential to transmit the virus via aerosolization of fluids. As a trusted healthcare profession, we are responsible for ensuring the safety of our citizens and for our dental teams. We all have a role to play in slowing the spread of the coronavirus and “flattening the curve,” by following sound scientific and public health advice, in order to help limit infections and slow the spread of the virus.
For this reason, the CSDA Board of Governors convened an emergency conference call this afternoon, and approved the following resolution:
The CSDA Board of Governors recommends that Connecticut dentists consider postponing elective and routine care for two weeks starting March 18, 2020.
At this point, this is a recommendation from the CSDA, not a mandate. It is up to individual practices to determine whether to continue appointments beyond those that are emergencies or are medically necessary, based on your discretion. Practices are encouraged to exceed standard infection control procedures and implement policies to minimize patients’ time and possible contact in the waiting room.
We expect that these two weeks will give the CDC and ADA time to establish additional safety measures above and beyond our already comprehensive universal standards of infection control. In addition, we anticipate that pausing routine care will allow time to update very specific guidelines as they relate to social distancing, procedural modifications to control aerosolization, and others.
The CSDA leadership took this very difficult decision seriously, and came to our decision out of an abundance of caution. We expect the number of COVID-19 positive cases will grow in the coming weeks, and taking responsible action right now is the best thing we can do at this time for our patients, for our office teams and for our health care system.
We also recognize that as small business owners, we have families and employees who rely on us. We want to minimize the long-term impact on our offices as this virus ripples through the country. The ADA continues to advocate for relief for dental offices at the federal level, and we will continue to do the same for our members in Hartford.
We thank you for your commitment to providing the highest level of care to Connecticut’s patients, and to the dental profession. As we learn more, our recommendations could change as new information is brought forward. The CSDA will continue to share updates and communications with our members. Please continue to monitor our website, CSDA.com, ADA.org and CDC.gov, as well as our social media platforms on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
Very truly yours,
Albert Natelli, DDS
Coronavirus Dental Practice Updates
Reports in the media about the coronavirus can be overwhelming, and the information is changing on a daily basis. The CSDA continues to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on Connecticut dentists and their patients, and is providing this update with information and reminders compiled from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Dental Association (ADA), and the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH).
Protect your staff and other patients! We now have confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the State of Connecticut, in addition to individuals in our state who are self-isolating as a precautionary measure. These practices can help safeguard you and your staff, as well as your patients:
- Reschedule patients if necessary. Remind patients who are feeling ill, or believe they were exposed to one of the many viruses/illnesses that are going around (including COVID-19 or the flu), that they should reschedule their routine appointments for 14 to 21 days out. However, every effort should be made to see a patient who is in pain, or who has an urgent dental issue.
- Ensure proper use of personal protection equipment (PPE). Healthcare personnel who come in close contact with patients who may be been exposed to COVID-19 should wear the appropriate personal protective equipment.
- Remember your respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette infection control measures, such as performing hand hygiene, providing tissues and no-touch receptacles to throw away used tissues, and offering face masks to patients who are coughing. Go to (link: www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/infectioncontrol/resphygiene.htm) for more information.
- Encourage sick employees to stay home. Personnel who develop respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) should be instructed not to report to work.
Preparation is key! Authorities agree that the number of confirmed cases and people in isolation will continue to increase, so it is important to prepare for potential impact to your practice.
- Have a plan. It is a good idea to have a plan and protocols in place should it become necessary to close your office due to staff illness, or for precautionary measures. Share the plan and protocols with your staff so that everyone knows what to expect. Be sure to understand your business insurance policy, as ‘communicable diseases’ are not considered a covered event for the vast majority of insurance carriers.
- Understand the criteria for determining who should get tested for COVID-19. The CDC has updated guidance on deciding when a patient should be referred for testing which includes “any persons, including healthcare workers, who have had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset, or a history of travel from affected geographic areas within 14 days of symptom onset.” Go to, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/clinical-criteria.html for complete information.
- Know where to go. Health care providers should contact their local/state health department immediately to notify them of patients with fever and lower respiratory illness who have recently traveled to an affected area with sustained transmission or have been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient. The health department will determine which patients should be tested, and will refer the patient to an appropriate facility for testing.
Updated resources are available to help you! The American Dental Association has released an informational handout for dentists on COVID-19. The ADA handout covers strategies for helping prevent the transmission of suspected respiratory disease in the dental health care setting and answers frequently asked questions related to the virus, based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Connecticut Department of Public Health has also updated its website ct.gov/coronavirus with information on the state’s response to coronavirus, as well as resources for Connecticut healthcare practitioners, residents, and others.