The Impact of COVID-19 on Dental Practices in Alberta

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COVID-19 has changed much of the world as we know it, and it has resulted in the rise of many practices that we would not have looked into before. As Canada and many other places around the world have shut down, we have had to think about what will happen once practices are beginning to open again. As a result, some new regulations have had to be put in place for patients when visiting. 

Current Status

As of May 15, 2020, dentists in Alberta have been able to resume full services with the correct regulations in place. Whether you are visiting your regular clinic or searching for a new Calgary dentist, all patients should be able to attend for any treatment as they would have before the spread of COVID-19. However, there are still some issues that need to be covered to avoid further transmission and to protect the health of patients and clinic staff alike.

Screening

Many clinics around Alberta have introduced daily screening for staff. All staff members need to have their temperature taken at least twice a day in addition to filling in a daily log to confirm that they are not experiencing any symptoms. 

There have also been strict restrictions put in place to prohibit anyone who might be exhibiting symptoms from coming to the clinics. CMOH Order 05-2020 requires those who might have the major symptoms of COVID-19, such as a cough or a shortness of breath amongst others, to be in isolation for at least 10 days from the start of their symptoms, or until symptoms resolve themselves. This should apply to both patients and staff members alike.

Contact Tracing and Hygiene

There has also been a massive increase in the hygiene practices around clinics. Hand hygiene has been increased and requires staff to wash their hands well with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or to use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Contact points must also be regularly cleaned, and hand hygiene should be taking place before and after contact with patients and in between procedures.

Track and trace will be paramount in controlling the spread of infection. Staff and patients alike are encouraged to download the ABTraceTogethera app. This will help to let people know if they have been exposed to the virus while also protecting the identity of those who might have unintentionally spread it.

These new restrictions have had a profound impact on dentistry in Alberta, but they are all extremely necessary. With staff committing to regular checks and appropriate levels of hand hygiene, together with patients who are willing to comply with these new regulations, dentists should be able to continue to operate as they have been doing so thus far. The changes are significant and add a lot more steps to what might have once been a simple trip to the dentist, but they are just one of many ways that Albertans are focused on stopping the spread of COVID-19.

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