UPDATE COVID-19: What Dentists Need to Know | Calif Dental Assn

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

What dental practitioners need to know

Last updated: March 5, 2020

CDA is closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and has gathered the latest information and tips in one place to help members decrease their risks and protect their patients, staff and practice.

Practice Support FAQs for Confronting COVID-19

CDA Practice Support continues to receive inquiries from CDA members on how to assess and manage the risk of potential exposure. Despite the recent increase in outbreaks across the U.S. and in California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the immediate health risk for American citizens is still low.

Infection Control

Can I wash or reuse face masks?
Single-use masks, or disposable masks, should not be washed for the purpose of reusing with patients.

What do I do if I run out of face masks, gloves, or other PPE?
The FDA has stated that it is continuing to monitor the domestic and global supply chain for potential disruptions or shortages and will “use all available tools to react swiftly and mitigate the impact to U.S. patients and healthcare professionals.” In the meantime, the agency encourages healthcare facilities to report any supply disruptions to deviceshortages@fda.hhs.gov.

If you do not have adequate supplies to meet regulations, you should reschedule patient appointments when required PPE is replenished for your office.

Should my office provide face masks to patients while they wait for treatment?
Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. Dentists are advised to only proceed with appointments for patients who do not show symptoms, and the CDC does not recommend a face mask for people who are well.

What policies and practices should my office follow to minimize the chance of exposure?
Interim CDC guidance for businesses and employers recommends that:

  • Employers encourage employees who report symptoms of acute respiratory illness to stay home and not return to work until they are free of symptoms for at least 24 hours.
  • If an employee appears to be sick upon arrival to work, they should be separated from other employees and sent home immediately.
  • Employees cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Employees wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be used.

CDC recommends employers place posters that encourage coughing and sneezing etiquette and proper hand hygiene at the entrance to their workplace and in other areas where they are likely seen.

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