In respect of concerns about the continuing rise of incidence (new cases) and prevalence (overall current cases) in the United States including North Carolina, of COVID-19 please know that we are monitoring this outbreak closely.
Having received a Master’s in Public Health from UNC, (including Epidemiological training) and having practiced Dental Public Health in Canada, I have a special interest in what is going on in the world right now, including here in North Carolina, particularly in regard to how we can best protect the health of our valued patients and our highly trained and experienced team.
In addition to Universal Precautions that are routinely used in the clinical areas of our practice, we have instituted additional precautions to safeguard our patients as follows:
- Periodic virucidal/bacteriocidal (= killing of viruses and bacteria) wiping down of all door handles, including outdoor entrances and throughout the interior of the entire office.
- Periodic virucidal/bacteriocidal (= killing of viruses and bacteria) wiping down of all hard surfaces in the reception area, including the end tables, refreshment bar, and granite reception counters.
- Periodic virucidal/bacteriocidal (= killing of viruses and bacteria) wiping down of all hard surfaces in our patient bathroom.
- Making disinfectant wipes available to all patients in our reception area – only for use in the dental office – in respect of the scarcity of disinfectant wipes that currently is being experienced nationwide.
- We would ask any patients to reschedule dental treatment if they have returned within the last 30 days from countries that the CDC has indicated as restricted including China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Northern Italy, Iran, and Japan, or if currently sick, or have been in contact with anyone wh exhibits symptoms, including, but not limited to Fever, Dry Cough, Difficulty Breathing, etc.
To further increase your chances of not contracting COVID-19 we encourage you to follow the prevention guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) as follows:
Wash Hands Frequently
Use soap and water for visibly dirty hands or an alcohol-based hand rub frequently for non-visibly dirty hands.
Practice Respiratory Hygiene
When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – discard tissue immediately into a closed bin and clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
Maintain Social Distancing
Maintain at least 3 feet distance between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever. If you are too close, you can breathe in the virus.
Avoid Touching Eyes, Nose & Mouth
Hands touch many surfaces which can be contaminated with the virus. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself.
Seek Medical Care Early
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and tell your health care provider if you have traveled in an area in China where the virus has been reported, or if you have been in close contact with someone with who has traveled from China and has respiratory symptoms.
If you have mild respiratory symptoms and no travel history to or within China, still seek medical care and be sure to carefully practice basic respiratory and hand hygiene and stay home until you are recovered, if possible.
Animal Proximity Precautions
Practice general hygiene measures when visiting farms, live animal markets, wet markets, animal product markets or contact with wild animals. Ensure regular hand washing with soap and potable water after touching animals and animal products.
Avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products. Handle raw meat, milk or animal organs with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices
North Carolina Division of Public Health. Call 866-462-3821 for answers to general questions about coronavirus.
Finally, we would like to assure you that your health and safety will always be Research Triangle Dental’s top priority. Always have been, always will be.
Thank you for your continuing support. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe during this challenging time.
Pat Cassidy, DMD, MPH
Research Triangle Dental