Dental hygienists call for more safety guidelines, cite high COVID-19 risk

Dental hygienists may be most vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 of all non-hospital healthcare workers, according to research cited by CBS Los Angeles.

Dental hygienists are regularly exposed to aerosols on the job, which puts them at heightened risk of contracting airborne diseases, like COVID-19. Dental hygienists across the country are being called back to work, but many of them do not feel safe to do so, according to the California Dental Hygienists Association. As information regarding how the virus spreads remains esoteric, many dental hygienists said they feel uncomfortable with their exposure to airborne and blood-borne diseases during work.

Most work part-time and do not have health benefits, so contracting COVID-19 could rack up large medical bills.

Dental offices are obeying recommendations from the CDC, Occupational Safety and Health Administration  and their dental service organizations, but there remains a lack of specific guidelines for all dental offices to follow, according to Jeannette Diaz, public relations chair for the CDHA.

"There is a lot of confusion right now, and there are some fears," she told CBS Los Angeles. "We don't have any specific guidelines as to what we have to wear now post-COVID."

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