New mask guidance takes effect April 3, 2023.
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Patients, visitors and workers not performing clinical procedures will no longer be required to wear face masks in dental offices and other indoor health care settings in California beginning April 3 per new guidance from the state Department of Public Health.
Update: The Cal/OSHA Standards Board voted to withdraw the revisions to its COVID-19 prevention emergency temporary standards that the board approved June 3 and sent to the OAL for review. The board met again June 17 and approved new changes to the standards that took effect the same day after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order.
Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Prevention Non-Emergency Regulations took effect Feb. 3, replacing the most recent version of the emergency temporary standards that California dentists have been complying with since May 2022.
Counties in California have strongly recommended masking for the general public in recent weeks, and more counties may follow suit as COVID-19 cases surge in communities this winter. Dentists should stay informed of ordinances and guidance from their local health department.
Workers in California dental offices are no longer required to quarantine after a close-contact exposure with someone who has COVID-19 if the exposed worker is asymptomatic and does not test positive, according to updated state guidance.
Health experts are urging people to get the COVID-19 bivalent booster and a flu shot this season to protect themselves as well as people who are more vulnerable. Some local health departments mandate flu vaccination for health care workers, including dentists and dental staff.
The California Department of Public Health on Sept. 17 ended the COVID-19 testing mandate for unvaccinated health care workers and other individuals in high-risk settings, which include dental offices.
Two significant updates on COVID-19 quarantining and at-home testing have occurred in the last week with potential impact on dental practices and staff.
The CDC has urged health care providers to be alert for patients who have rash illnesses consistent with monkeypox regardless of specific risk factors. Dentists are well-positioned to help detect the virus during patient examinations.
The risk of monkeypox transmission in dental practices is low, currently, but as health care providers, dentists and dental teams can take steps now to minimize the virus’s spread, including through appropriate screening of patients and employees.