COVID-19 Weekend update I: Developments in China, USA and Republic of Ireland

COVID-19 Weekend update I: Developments in China, USA and Republic of Ireland

The first article on how COVID-19 affected dental practice in Wuhan China has been published. Across the USA, individual states have been ordering dental practices to reduce contact with patients where possible. The Irish Dental Association has said that widespread closure of dental practices across the country is now inevitable.

China

An article[i] by Meng, Hua and Bian, all from Wuhan University have published a research article on how the COVID-19 virus has affected dental practice in the city and calls for strict and effective infection control protocols.

Abstract

The epidemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), originating in Wuhan, China, has become a major public health challenge for not only China but also countries around the world. The World Health Organization announced that the outbreaks of the novel coronavirus have constituted a public health emergency of international concern. As of February 26, 2020, COVID-19 has been recognized in 34 countries, with a total of 80,239 laboratory-confirmed cases and 2,700 deaths. Infection control measures are necessary to prevent the virus from further spreading and to help control the epidemic situation.

Due to the characteristics of dental settings, the risk of cross infection can be high between patients and dental practitioners. For dental practices and hospitals in areas that are (potentially) affected with COVID-19, strict and effective infection control protocols are urgently needed. This article, based on our experience and relevant guidelines and research, introduces essential knowledge about COVID-19 and nosocomial infection in dental settings and provides recommended management protocols for dental practitioners and students in (potentially) affected areas.

United States of America

Across the USA, States have been ordering dental practices to reduce contact with patients where possible. The American Dental Association (ADA)[ii] is recommending that dentists nationwide postpone elective procedures in response to the spread of the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, across the country. A statement from ADA President Chad P. Gehani, on March 16, says: “The American Dental Association recognizes the unprecedented and extraordinary circumstances dentists and all health care professionals face related to growing concern about COVID-19. The ADA is deeply concerned for the health and well-being of the public and the dental team.

“In order for dentistry to do its part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the ADA recommends dentists nationwide postpone elective procedures for the next three weeks. Concentrating on emergency dental care will allow us to care for our emergency patients and alleviate the burden that dental emergencies would place on hospital emergency departments.”

 

Republic of Ireland

The Irish Dental Association (IDA)[iii] has warned that the dental profession in Ireland is on the brink of collapse and said that urgent direction was needed from the Government if it is to survive the Covid-19 crisis after a survey outlined the scale of the crisis facing dentists. The Association has written to the Taoiseach, Minister for Health, party leaders and the health spokespeople of the various political parties outlining the gravity of the situation and is seeking an urgent meeting with the Minister for Health.

[i] Meng L, Hua F, Bian Z, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Emerging and Future Challenges for Dental and Oral Medicine, March 2020; https://doi.org/10.1177/0022034520914246

[ii] https://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2020-archive/march/ada-develops-guidance-on-dental-emergency-nonemergency-care

[iii] https://www.dentist.ie/latest-news/irish-dental-association-warns-that-dental-profession-on-the-brink-of-collapse.8336.html

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