corona

Dear DSDS Members,

I want to alert everyone about the May 19, 2020, Delaware’s Response to COVID-19 press briefing, which can be viewed on the Delaware.gov website: https://news.delaware.gov/2020/05/18/may-19-2020-covid-19-briefing/

Dr. Rattay discussed the Division of Public Health (DPH) Resumption of Elective and Non-Urgent Medical Procedures and Appointments. This document is now on their website: https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/177/2020/05/Med-Provider-Resumption-of-Elective-Procedures_5.18.pdf

She acknowledged the DSDS, stating we, along with other health care providers, did a fantastic job of stopping elective procedures, starting back in March. This helped to preserve PPE for frontline workers dealing with COVID-19 patients yet kept non-COVID-19 patients out of emergency rooms.

As stated in the DPH document, dentists, as health care providers, may resume elective and non-urgent procedures and appointments on May 20, 2020, provided all of the following measures are in place:

  1. Delaware’s health care facilities and licensed health care providers shall exercise their independent professional judgment in determining what procedures are appropriate to perform, which appointments should occur, and which patients to see in light of widespread COVID-19 community transmission. The prioritization process, principles, and framework should be transparent to state government, health care workers, and the public.
  2. Licensed health care facilities or health care providers resuming elective and non-urgent medical procedures shall have at least two week’s supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff, and as appropriate, for patients.

    • The health care facilities and health care providers must be able to procure all necessary PPE for its desired services via standard supply chains.
    • PPE requests to the Division of Public Health will be denied except to support community testing as appropriate.
    • All health care providers and staff shall wear appropriate face coverings, to include cloth face coverings, surgical face masks or N-95 masks, respirators, and/or face shields.
    • Patients shall wear a face covering whenever possible.
  3. Social distancing requirements must be strictly maintained in all settings where people must wait in order to minimize direct contact between individuals within the health care setting and use of non-traditional alternatives is encouraged (e.g., call ahead registration; waiting in a car until called).
  4. All health care workers, patients, and others must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival for shift or visit. Staff must stay home if they are showing COVID-19 symptoms.
  5. All health care facilities and health care providers must plan for and implement enhanced workplace infection control measures in accordance with the most current CDC guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/infection-control.html
  6. Any health care facility or health care provider who is unable to provide PPE for themselves, staff, and patients where appropriate shall immediately restrict operations to urgent and non-elective procedures and appointments.

In addition to the above safety measures, the DSDS strongly encourages all dentists to utilize the ADA Interim Guidance for Minimizing Risk of COVID-19 Transmission and the ADA Return to Work Interim Guidance Toolkit to establish office protocols to ensure the safety of all staff and patients. We will continue to update members as new information is released about COVID-19 and how it impacts our practices.

On behalf of the DSDS Executive Council, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our members who voluntarily closed their offices to routine care to help slow the spread of COVID-19 throughout Delaware. We came together as a dental community, and we are all stronger for it.

Sincerely,

Dr. Cath Harris

Cathy Harris, DMD
DSDS President

 
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