COVID-19 Office Update
Written By: Carly Peterschmidt, DMD
[Updated April 3, 2023]
We want you to know that we are following the current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Oregon Dental Association (ADA), and Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).
COVID-19 SAFETY PROTOCOLS
For those of you who want to know the specifics of what we are doing to protect you from COVID-19, we have outlined the protocols we currently have in place for the health and safety of our team, patients, and community:
- Patient and Staff Screening
We have a strict policy for our staff members to stay home or go home if they have or develop any symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Employees are asked to stay home until their symptoms have subsided. If an employee tests positive with COVID-19, the current guidance from the CDC regarding healthcare workers returning to the workplace is followed.
Patients are asked to inform our office prior to all appointments if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, if they have had a fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath within the last 10 days, and if they have had any contact with SARS-CoV-2 biologic material in the last 10 days. From there, our office can help determine if a patient’s appointment needs to be rescheduled based on the most up-to-date guidance.
- Personal Protective Equipment
As of April 3, 2023, the OHA has opted to join the CDC and Oregon OSHA to no longer require masks in healthcare facilities. We will leave it up to our patients if they would like to continue to wear masks. Our team members are required to wear masks during direct patient care, as has been the case prior to the existence of COVID-19.
- Infection Control
Thankfully, the dental profession was already enforcing strict infection protocols for prevention of disease transmission prior to the Coronavirus. The surface disinfectants and sterilization methods we use are approved for killing SARS-CoV-2. In addition, we have increased disinfection of non-clinical areas, such as the reception area and bathrooms.
- Aerosol-Producing Procedures
In theory, we would hope that no one who comes into the office for a dental appointment would be infected with Coronavirus, but we do know that those who are carriers of the disease may not necessarily be symptomatic. There are certain procedures in dentistry that produce large amounts of aerosols. Aerosolized viral particles can cause a higher risk for disease transmission.
We have implemented multiple methods to reduce aerosols to prevent others from breathing in these particles. One major advantage we have in our office are the walls and cabinetry between operatories. We have upgraded our HVAC system filters and have installed HALO-LED Whole Home Air Purification Systems. Within the operatories, we have implemented improved high-volume evacuation techniques, as well as individual HEPA air filtration units with redirection of air flow towards the filters.
- Social Distancing
We have implemented digital form capabilities to prevent patients from waiting in the reception area if they prefer not to. Patients can also continue to check-in from their cars if they prefer.
We are looking forward to seeing you again at your next dental visit and will keep you updated as
recommendations change 😊.
Dental Setting Recommendations: