A peer-reviewed journal that offers evidence-based clinical information and continuing education for dentists.

COVID Outbreaks in Two Colorado Springs Dental Offices Demonstrate Importance of Practice-Patient Communication

The outbreak of COVID-19 in two Colorado Springs dental offices in late July 2020 shows not only how easily the virus passes from person to person but also demonstrates how dental offices can survive an outbreak by maintaining effective practice-patient communication.

0

The outbreak of COVID-19 in two Colorado Springs dental offices in late July 2020 shows not only how easily the virus passes from person to person but also demonstrates how dental offices can survive an outbreak by maintaining effective practice-patient communication.

News reports of two outbreak sites began to make headlines in early August based on data provided by the El Paso County Department of Public Health, which tracks outbreak sites in the county. The agency defines an outbreak as two or more confirmed cases within 14 days, with evidence of transmission within the facility. Colorado Springs Pediatric Dentistry–South Office and Smile Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry were listed as outbreak sites because at least two staff members tested positive for COVID-19. 

Smile Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry was listed as an outbreak site on July 22, 2020, with five staff members, confirmed testing positive for COVID-19. On July 31, 2020, Colorado Springs Pediatric Dentistry–South Office made the agency’s list with two staff members testing positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus. 

According to the American Dental Association’s “Summary of Reporting Work-Related COVID-19 Illnesses for OSHA,” employers with more than 10 employees are required to report work-related COVID-19 illnesses. Guidance for dental settings provided in the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Interim Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Dental Settings During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic,” suggest dental practices establish reporting within and between healthcare facilities and to public health authorities.

By August 1, patients of Colorado Springs Pediatric Dentistry–South Office were made aware of the office’s two confirmed cases through a Facebook post published by the office. 

“In the interest of full transparency, we would like you to understand the nature of the exposure in our office. While working with the county epidemiologic staff on tracing, it has become apparent that one of our administrative staff members contracted the virus from a family member who was visiting from out of state. She was quarantined immediately upon showing symptoms. One other administrative staff member was sent home to quarantine after complaining that she didn’t feel well. Her symptoms progressed and she later tested positive while in quarantine at home,” according to the post. “… None of the at-risk staff members related to this exposure are involved in the clinical treatment of patients, and per our protocols, they wear masks all day and social distance even for lunch. Nonetheless, we felt it prudent to test our clinical staff, their COVID-19 test results were also negative.”

No other administrative staff members have been symptomatic, and the practice elected to have all administrative staff members tested for COVID-19. Their results were negative. 

“All families who passed through on those days have already been issued a separate notification that also contained the county health department recommended guidance. If you did not receive this separate notification then you were not seen on the dates in question,” Colorado Springs Pediatric Dentistry posted on its Facebook page. “… The health department deemed this a low risk for exposure but one that we felt we needed to inform families of.”

COVID-19 Practice UpdateDear Patients and Families of Colorado Springs Pediatric Dentistry,We feel that it is…

Posted by Colorado Springs Pediatric Dentistry on Saturday, August 1, 2020

 

Smile Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry also used its Facebook page to keep patients informed of the situation. The August post details how team members who tested positive interact with patients. 

On Sunday, July 12, 2020, one of the administrative employees at our 9334 Grand Cordera Parkway location began experiencing COVID-19 symptoms while at home. This employee immediately began isolating and tested positive for the virus.  In the following days, four other administrative employees experienced mild symptoms, isolated at home, and later tested positive,” according to the post. “ These team members only briefly interact or have no interaction at all with our patients in the course of their work. Other employees who work near them have tested negative for COVID-19. No other team members have had any COVID-19 symptoms.”

To our patients and their families:As some of you may already be aware, several of our employees have recently tested…

Posted by Smile Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry on Sunday, August 2, 2020

 

Both Colorado Springs Pediatric Dentistry–South Office and Smile Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry implemented social distancing protocol to keep patients safe while in the office. Each practice informed patients of new COVID-19 screening protocols, such as temperature checks, enhanced personal protective equipment (PPE), and requiring patents and parents/caregivers to wear masks. 

The outbreaks demonstrate the importance of practice-patient communication during these unprecedented times as reaching out via email, through online social platforms, or by phone helps alleviate fear and retain patients.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy