Download an Additional Statement Made by ADAA Here
What Healthcare Personnel Should Know about the COVID-19 Infection
Healthcare personnel (HCP) are on the front lines of caring for patients with confirmed or possible infection with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and therefore have an increased risk of exposure to this virus. HCPs can minimize their risk of exposure when caring for confirmed or possible COVID-19 patients by following Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) or Persons Under Investigation for COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings.
How COVID-19 Spreads
There is much to learn about the newly emerged COVID-19, including how and how easily it spreads. Based on what is currently known about COVID-19 and what is known about other coronaviruses, spread is thought to occur mostly from person-to-person via respiratory droplets among close contacts.
Close contact can occur while caring for a patient, including:
- being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a patient with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time.
- having direct contact with infectious secretions from a patient with COVID-19. Infectious secretions may include sputum, serum, blood, and respiratory droplets.
If close contact occurs while not wearing all recommended PPE, healthcare personnel may be at risk of infection.
How You Can Protect Yourself
Healthcare personnel caring for patients with confirmed or possible COVID-19 should adhere to CDC recommendations for infection prevention and control (IPC):
- Assess and triage these patients with acute respiratory symptoms and risk factors for COVID-19 to minimize chances of exposure, including placing a facemask on the patient and placing them in an examination room with the door closed.
- Use Standard and Transmission-Based Precautions when caring for patients with confirmed or possible COVID-19.
- Perform hand hygiene with alcohol-based hand rub before and after all patient contact, contact with potentially infectious material, and before putting on and upon removal of PPE, including gloves. Use soap and water if hands are visibly soiled.
- Practice how to properly in a manner to prevent self-contamination.
- Perform aerosol-generating procedures, in an AIIR, while following appropriate IPC practices, including use of appropriate PPE.
Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection
Routine cleaning and disinfection procedures are appropriate for SARS-CoV-2 in healthcare settings, including those patient-care areas in which aerosol-generating procedures are performed. Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are recommended for use against SARS-CoV-2. Management of laundry, food service utensils, and medical waste should also be performed in accordance with routine procedures.
When to Contact Occupational Health Services
If you have an unprotected exposure (i.e., not wearing recommended PPE) to a confirmed or possible COVID-19 patient, contact your supervisor or occupational health immediately.
If you develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing), do not report to work. Contact your occupational health services.
For more information for healthcare personnel, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/index.html
The U.S. Department of Labor has resources to help workers and employers prepare for the COVID-19 virus (also known as novel coronavirus).1
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has resources to help employers and workers prepare for and respond to coronavirus in the workplace.
Wages, Hours and Leave
The Wage and Hour Division is providing information on common issues employers and workers face when responding to COVID-19, including the effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Unemployment Insurance Flexibilities
NOTE: Check with your state’s unemployment insurance program regarding the rules in your state.
The Employment and Training Administration announced new guidance outlining state flexibilities in administering their unemployment insurance programs to assist Americans affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Under the guidance, federal law permits significant flexibility for states to amend their laws to provide unemployment insurance benefits in multiple scenarios related to COVID-19. For example, federal law allows states to pay benefits where:
- An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work;
- An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over; and
- An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member.
In addition, federal law does not require an employee to quit in order to receive benefits due to the impact of COVID-19.
For further information about coronavirus, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s coronavirus website.
For a listing of the state departments of health, click here.
Learn what the U.S. government is doing in response to coronavirus at www.usa.gov/coronavirus (en Español: gobierno.usa.gov/coronavirus).2
The World Health Organization (WHO) is tracking the spread of Coronavirus and is providing many other resources at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019.
The latest official information from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force at the White House can be found at https://www.coronavirus.gov/.
The American Dental Association has created a Coronavirus Center for Dentists at https://success.ada.org/en/practice-management/patients/~/link.aspx?_id=6C881EF4A7884989A80BA475F9A116ED&_z=z.
OSAP has also created an index of credible sources at https://www.osap.org/page/COVID-19#Practice.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has included several resources at https://www.nih.gov/health-information/coronavirus.
The CDC issued guidance on optimizing supplies of N95 respirators when supplies are running low.
Download the Crosstex guide to face mask selection and use from their website.
Check the EPA “List N” of disinfectants effective against coronavirus
An aluminum foil test is a method to evaluate the general cleaning intensity and soundwave coverage throughout the tank. L&R Manufacturing describes how to perform he test on their website.
ProEdge provides a Video Tutorial and Protocol download on How to Shock Waterlines on their website.
ADAA recently received a communication from the President of the American Association of Dental Boards (AADB), the association representing dental boards across the country. It read, in part,
Dear Members and Associates,
The American Association of Dental Boards encourages everyone to practice social distancing. As health care professionals, the dental community must not only follow all directives from the White House Task Force, CDC, USPHS, National Institute of Allergy and Epidemiology, etc. but also be exemplary. The edicts pertaining to emergent care must be adhered to in order to minimize the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Anyone who ignores these guidelines negates the sacrifices by other practices who are doing their part to "flatten the curve". Those who ignore these efforts not only unnecessarily endanger themselves and their staff, but more importantly endanger the entire community. As a Nation, we must all do our part.
To protect our professionals on the front lines, the public, and promote social distancing, we encourage the use of Teledentistry as much as possible to minimize exposure. Additionally, in conjunction with digital means, employing Immediate Vicinity Access to Care (IVAC) will better minimize risks.For example, patients may be triaged in parking areas, curbside, sidewalks, etc. in order to decrease the number of patients that actually enter the practice facility. Some may only need prescriptions to delay treatment to a future date, emergency cases that need hands-on care could be filtered through the IVAC buffer. We at the AADB encourage any suggestions from the dental community that would help improve our struggle with the Covid-19 virus to share them with the AADB Central Office.
In an effort to protect the public, we are offering a means to report alleged violations.
Reporting to this group may be made by clicking here.