Social distancing is playing a critical role in interrupting the transmission of COVID-19 and ensuring that the number of people affected doesn’t overwhelm our medical system. However, the extreme measures we’re taking now are only temporary—this is the time dental providers should be taking to think about the safety measures they’ll be putting in place for when their offices reopen. A multi-pronged approach will help keep your office virus-free and give your patients the confidence to come in for the care they need.
First, you’ll want to make changes to your reception area and waiting room. Installing plexiglass dividers at your reception counter will protect both your patients and your staff. Separating chairs in the waiting room from one another by six feet will also reduce the possibility of patients infecting one another. Remove items that are likely to be touched by more than one person, such as magazines.
At check in, use a thermometer to check the patient’s temperature. With a high-quality thermometer designed to take the temperature from the forehead, this is a quick and easy step that won’t even require the patient to remove their own mask. While this, unfortunately, won’t detect asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19, it will prevent inadvertent exposure through the treatment of detectably ill patients.
Masks and facial shields for your own staff are a must. The information we have about the virus indicates that airborne spread through aerosolized droplets is a main avenue of transmission, and that the virus enters the body through the eyes, nose, and mouth. Of course a patient cannot wear a mask during treatment, so it is doubly important that everyone working on a patient protect their faces.
COVID-19 can also be picked up from contaminated surfaces, so another important strategy to protect your staff and patients is to give them the means to clean their hands effectively and as often as necessary. While it may not be practical to add sinks for handwashing to new areas of your office, it is easy to put hand sanitizers at every station, and to make them readily available throughout your office and waiting area.
Finally, infected droplets remaining in the air can present a lingering hazard. Use air scrubbers to remove these droplets and keep the atmosphere in your office clean. Examine the air flow in your space and place as many filters as you need to make sure that all your treatment rooms are covered. Assign responsible staff to make sure that the equipment is cleaned and maintained as necessary to ensure effectiveness.
Our patients can be assured that Dr. Stein’s office will be enacting all of these measures and more to keep them safe. Our commitment isn’t only to your dental health, but your overall well-being. As long as COVID-19 remains a danger, we will be following the latest news and undertaking whatever measures are necessary to protect patient health. If you have any questions, please reach out to us at 818-772-1280 or email@example.com.