The Coronavirus and Spring Lake Dental Group
Just like our patients, we are watching the information flow come out for public consumption about the recent pandemic that is affecting our country. Though we see all that is being posted, we do not rely upon the internet to make decisions about how we are going to deal with this crisis. We view ourselves as scientists and practice the oral medical arts with evidence based recommendations. The challenge here is that the newly mutated virus has sprung upon an unsuspecting public with such virulence and transmissibility that the scientific information about its epidemiology is slow to come. Nonetheless, the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are the experts that we rely upon for our most dependable information. As of this writing, the coronavirus situation in the United States remains in a state of rapid flux. Recommendations are therefore predicated upon information that arises daily. But here is what we know at this early stage of disease progression.
COVID–19, the disease caused by SARS–COV–2, is now known to be highly contagious with a rapid velocity of transmission. The disease appears to have a fatality rate that is lower than its predecessors, SARS COV–1 and MERS–COC–2. The most at risk populations appear to be the elderly and those with underlying co–morbidities, though the statistics are ever-changing. In 80% of cases, the symptoms of COVID–19 are mild. In 15% of cases, development of progressive respiratory symptoms may necessitate hospitalization. In 5% of cases, patients become critically ill and require intensive care unit support. Overall, fatality is estimated to be around 2%.
Dr. Leslie Fang, a Harvard Medical School Professor states that “although vaccines have been developed in the United States and China, it will likely take too long for the vaccines to be deployed during this epidemic because of the need for safety testing and clinical trials. Clinical trials with antiviral agents such as remdessivir, chloroquine and others are in place and will hopefully help with development of effective therapeutic agents.”
The staff at Spring Lake Dental Group has viewed recent webinars and held classroom instruction related to learning more about the virus, we have developed strategies concerning patient treatment during this time. Some of our attention will be paid to administrative controls, engineering controls, environmental hygiene, correct work practices, personal protective equipment and strict adherence to standard, contact and airborne precautions.
No additional unproductive paperwork will be required of our patients. We don‘t care if you‘ve traveling to at risk countries or had a boat cruise or airplane journey in your recent past. The virus is here and universal precautions are needed and being reinforced. Our practice is not, and will not, experience any shortage of disease prevention materials. Our staff has been trained and is dedicated to sustaining the health of our patient population even if they are experiencing flu–like symptoms. Many “experts” have stated that any dental work can be postponed as elective and that there is no such thing as a dental emergency.
We have made the decision to close the office to non-emergent appointments. However, our staff does not ascribe to his theory and is prepared to assist our patients should they experience pain or infection.
I hope you notice the increased state of personal and patient protection that we are demonstrating at SLDG. As more information presents itself about this outbreak, we may be adjusting our response to it. But it will be based on the best information and will be keeping the health of our staff and patients uppermost in its concern.