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COVID surge preparedness: A message to CDA members

November 18, 2020 2948

Quick Summary:

The surge in COVID-19 cases is quickly accelerating. CDA is actively tracking updates and advocating aggressively to reinforce that dental care is essential healthcare. Dentists should continue to be vigilant on all safety measures and protocols and communicate those procedures to patients.

The surge in COVID-19 cases is quickly accelerating, and restrictions are tightening in most counties throughout the state. The California Department of Public Health shared Monday that California’s case positivity has doubled in 10 days. As a result, the state moved 28 additional counties into the most restrictive (purple) tier — for a total of 41 counties in this tier — which accounts for nearly 95% of the state’s population. On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom and CDPH also announced a limited Stay at Home Order that prohibits non-essential work, movement and gatherings between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in purple-tier counties. The order does not impact dental care.

In short, the pandemic is expected to get worse before it gets better.

We know you have been steadily and safely treating patients through the pandemic and are concerned about what restrictions may mean for your practice. We have all made significant adjustments since the onset of the pandemic in March and have responded effectively to the changes and new rules accordingly. CDA continues to help you be prepared in service to your patients.

What CDA is doing

CDA is actively tracking updates from public health and regulatory authorities including CDC, CDPH and OSHA, as well as county/local-level advisories for any developments or changes. CDA is also:

  • Advocating aggressively with authorities to reinforce that dental care is essential healthcare and dental teams are prepared to stay the course in treating their patients’ oral health needs during the pandemic challenges. This was reinforced earlier this month when the San Diego Department of Public Health recommended that people continue to seek routine medical and dental care to avoid larger issues or infections that could be a comorbidity if one is infected with COVID-19.
  • Ensuring dental offices are equipped with necessary PPE. Currently, supplies are sufficient, although prices are fluctuating. We are advocating that should shortages occur, dentists will have access to the state’s stockpiles to minimize care disruption.
  • Helping members understand and respond to regulatory and compliance information if there are any further rule changes or restrictions enacted that affect dental practices.
  • Ensuring dental team members, as essential health care workers, have priority access to vaccines when they become available and that dentists have the ability to administer rapid COVID-19 tests once available for asymptomatic individuals.

What dentists should do

It is imperative that dentists continue to be vigilant on all safety measures and protocols. This includes:

  • Revisiting available resources and staff training in CDA’s Back to Practice library. Ensure you and your staff have watched CDA’s “Stay the Course” video series for important tips and reminders to stay vigilant on safety protocols.
  • Ensuring you have an adequate supply of PPE for your patient volume. Note: TDSC.com, Powered by Henry Schein is currently holding its PPE sale event, so CDA members can stock up on supplies with savings up to 80%.
  • Continuing to follow infection control and disinfection protocols.
  • Ensuring you are compliant with any county/local guidance in addition to orders at the state or federal level.
  • Encouraging patients and staff (if not already mandated) to get their seasonal flu vaccine.
  • Communicating with staff about office protocols on travel and potential COVID-19 exposure.
  • Explaining to patients the procedures you have in place to keep them safe. Do this regularly so patients have this information when they are making decisions about their appointments. You can also reinforce the importance of oral health in overall health.

Stay vigilant and be prepared

Staying the course on protocols will mitigate risk for you, your staff and your patients. CDA is here to support you in your practice efforts with your teams and your patients. Please visit our   or contact us with any questions.

CDA will continue to keep you updated as information develops. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to your patients, your practice and the public’s health.

Richard Nagy, DDS
President, California Dental Association

Judee Tippett-Whyte, DDS
President-elect, California Dental Association