How dentists can prepare for coronavirus

Although there are few confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., dentists and dental practices can take precautions to screen patients and mitigate the spread of the virus.

The California Dental Association reminds dentists to follow the California Occupational Safety and Health Association screening protocol for aerosol transmissible diseases. The recommendation is to:

• Consider whether high-risk factors are present in the patient population.
• Determine the incidence of aerosol transmissible disease cases in the greater community by checking local public health department websites.

If a dentist determines there is a moderate risk, staff should screen patients for symptoms, such as coughing and fever. If there is only a low risk of exposure, dentists should be observant of patients' general health.

Dentists should isolate patients they deem are at high risk of having coronavirus or another aerosol transmissible disease. They should contact a patients' healthcare provider and reschedule any dental care.

The California Dental Association also recommends dentists contact employment attorneys before limiting an employee's work due to travel to China.

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