Covid 19 Changes in Protocols

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Overview

All changes in protocols and procedures are in agreement with the recommendations of the CDC, ADA, AAO, and Washington State Department of Health.  This will greatly reduce the volume of patients we can see in a given time and also will limit some typical types of procedures to prevent spreading the virus.  Your patience and understanding is appreciated.  All this is being done to protect everyone.  It is our belief that the single most important issue here is everyone's safety including the patients, staff, and doctor along with each of their families.


We currently will be scheduling approximately 15-20 patients/day when we first start back up to make sure we achieve our social distancing and safety goals/requirements.   It is unlikely that this number will increase significantly during this pandemic as we are limited by our physical space.  Just so everyone is aware, we typically see around 45-50 patients a day under normal circumstances.  To help offset the decreased daily volume we are adding time to our work schedule and will be open Mon-Fri 8 am to 5 pm at least until we are able to see all our patients and get caught up.  We project it likely will take us 6-8 weeks to be able to see all of our current patients as we start back up.  We will be phoning to triage patients so we can get the most urgent cases in first.  Please be aware that even though you or your child have not been seen for 2+ months and you may have loose wires or broken brackets, all our patients are in the same boat.  No one has been seen since March 5th.


We are working hard to get the office and staff ready to get all of your treatment back on schedule and your patience is appreciated.

Patient Check in Process

Patients will be required to check in via phone or text message upon arrival and will be instructed to wait in their car until called into the office.  Check in number is (360) 218-5008. There are only 2 chairs in the waiting room which are only to be used if the weather is poor and the patient does not have a car.  No one will be allowed into the office except at his/her appointment time to prevent patients congregating in the waiting room.  Please do not enter the office until you have been asked to do so.


No one is allowed in the office except patients unless there is an urgent need i.e. young child with one parent.  Parents can also watch or supervise from the window if desired


Each patient will undergo a quick health screening including non-contact temperature reading and questionnaire when they first enter the office.  Patients who show any symptom of COVID-19 (Cough, Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, Fever, Chills, Muscle pain, Sore throat, loss of taste or smell) will not be seen that day or for 14 days.  We will also do a phone screening the day before so the appointment can be rescheduled if there is a health issue that will prevent the patient from being seen the next day.


EACH PATIENT WILL BE REQUIRED TO WEAR A MASK WHEN THEY ARRIVE.  Please bring your own mask, homemade cloth masks are acceptable and must be worn at all times in the office except during actual treatment.  Our supply of masks is limited at this time so we ask you to help by providing your own masks.


There will be NO TOOTHBRUSHING at the office to minimize the creation of aerosols in a public space.  Please arrive with teeth clean and ready for treatment or you may be sent home.


All patients MUST have an NEW Covid 19 Informed Consent signed and on file before they can be scheduled or seen in the office.  Please click the link below to download, sign and email Infocharleshallortho@gmail.com, fax (360) 326-0018 or mail the form to us. 

Physical Changes to Prevent the Spread of Covid 19

A new plexiglass barrier has been installed around the reception counter to protect staff and patients


The number of patients and staff in the office has been reduced to allow social distancing


All furniture has been removed to prevent people from congregating


The dental vacuum system has been modified to remove any aerosols during treatment and remove them from the facility


All disinfection and sterilization protocols have been updated and reviewed.

Operational Controls

 

Patients entering and exiting the office will be controlled and monitored to prevent more than one patient from coming or going at the same time.  No one will be allowed in the office without permission.


A maximum of 2 patients will be allowed in the office at any one time and will be separated by at least 10 feet at all times to maintain social distancing requirements.  This also reduces the staffing required which also allows proper social distancing to be achieved.


To reduce the time spent and the number of people coming into the office, all appointments will be scheduled over the phone after the patient has left.  The staff will not be collecting payments or scheduling appointments at the office other than via the phone or mail.  Please take advantage of our automatic bill pay or online bill pay procedures.  If you need to write a check please mail it to the office.  


All typical aerosol producing procedures including the use of handpieces and air/water spray have been eliminated to prevent the creation of aerosols. (This will limit what we can do and/or the time it takes to do certain procedures)


Personal Protective Equipment

Because there is no way to know who currently is carrying the virus and because our work requires that we completely violate all social distancing rules during treatment we MUST consider ALL patients as COVID 19 + patients.  Therefore, the following PPE will be required when seeing ANY patient for ANY procedure:


1)  N95 or equivalent Respirator that has been properly fit tested and checked on each provider

2) Full Face shield to prevent aerosols from contacting the eyes or mucous membranes and to minimize contamination of the respirator

3) The use of full length surgical gowns

4) Gloves

5) Strict adherence to proper donning and doffing procedures 

6) All patients will wear masks at all times in the office except when they are actually being treated.  Again we ask each patient to show up with his/her own mask to help us maintain our necessary supply


We are currently working to procure these items, but many of them are in short supply and back ordered.  Currently, I expect enough supply to open on May 19th.