Reopening After COVID-19 – Slowly But Surely
It hasn’t been a smooth process, partly due to conflicting information coming from the state. However, we are open with all staff members now scheduling to see patients.
First Delay in Reopening After Covid-19
We were initially notified by the state that dental offices could reopen on April 27, hence, the title of our last blog post. Unfortunately, in the middle of a meeting at the office on Friday, April 24 to review new procedures and protocols, DORA notified dental providers that they could not open pending further guidance from the governor. That finally arrived on the evening of April 28, but the guidance was so confusing, a modified Public Health Order had to be issued a week or so later. We are now in the newest phase of reopening, with yet more confusing guidance in an updated PHO issued at the end of May.
In our last blog post, we described what to expect when you come to the office. A big concern is that with offices reopening, we’ll see a spike in new COVID-19 cases. To guard against this, we currently pre-screen all scheduled patients prior to their arrival at our office. And, we take everyone’s temperate when they first arrive.
We have really appreciated the patience of our patients! From taking time out of busy days to answer screening questions prior to coming to the office, to not being able to see our staffs’ smiling faces behind facemask, everyone has been very accommodating. In fact, we have noted a real relief among patients that they are finally able to get out and attend to everyday tasks – such as routine dental care.
Newest CDC information
Several of us watched a webinar from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reviewing their interim guidance for dental offices. Importantly, CDC experts relayed that to date, there have been no documented cases of COVID-19 transmission in a dental setting. Some dental office employees have contracted the virus. However, CDC investigations have shown that none of these cases are associated with work in the dental office. It is suspected that the virus was circulating prior to shutdowns. This suggests that routine infection control processes followed by dentists – even before enhanced procedures were implemented – makes it difficult for the virus to be transmitted during dental care.
One difficulty for non-front-line health care providers has been getting adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). PPE includes things like masks and gloves. Following the outbreak, state and national associations started recommending the use of face shields during dental procedures. With equipment being diverted to those areas experiencing significant outbreaks, a lot of PPE has been on back order. Local businesses stepped up to the plate to help, including a local plastics company. They gave health care providers 10-packs of face shields. The picture above shows Susan modeling one. We really appreciate businesses and individuals who reached out to help others in the community.