Coronavirus: B.C. elective and non-essential dental services suspended

File photo courtesy CBC
All elective and non-essential dental services are suspended in B.C.

The College of Dental Surgeons of BC? says all elective and non-essential dental services are suspended immediately.

The news comes after Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday morning that the nearly 15,000 people who attended a dental conference in Vancouver in early March have been told to self-isolate immediately.

They must self isolate for 14 days, Henry said.

“They should not be at work. They should not be at school. They should not be around others,” Henry said.

Henry said at least four new COVID-19 cases are related to an infected person who attended the Pacific Dental Conference, held at the Vancouver Convention Centre March 5 to 7.

According to Henry, some cases of COVID-19 identified in other areas of the country have also been traced back to the Vancouver conference.

And according to Vancouver Coastal Health, the initial person who has tested positive for COVID-19 attended the conference on March 6 between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Later on Monday, the College of Dental Surgeons of BC (CDSBC) said all elective and non-essential dental services were suspended until further notice.

CDSBC also echoed Henry’s instruction that anyone who attended the 2020 Pacific Dental Conference must immediatly self-isolate until March 22, 2020.

Emergency concerns by patients can be addressed, including dental treatment due to infection, acute pain and/or trauma.

“The oral health care provider can determine the best place and manner in which the care can be delivered safely and appropriately. Management may include referral to an appropriate facility,” Dr. Chris Hacker, registrar and CEO of the CDSBC said in the update to dental therapists, dental assistants and dentists.

“All registrants must perform a thorough pre-treatment risk assessment that includes risk to the patient, to the oral heath care provider and to the greater community before any treatment is undertaken. If risks are identified that cannot be immediately or sufficiently mitigated, the determined care must be postponed or referred to an appropriate provider. Pre-screening of patients by phone is preferable. Offices should develop a pre-screening protocol for patients who present in person.”

CDSBC also said capacity to provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for all oral healthcare providers must be assessed before treatment can be done.

All in-person CDSBC meetings are suspended until further notices, all speaking engagements and presentations by CDSBC staff are cancelled, and all non-essential business travel has been cancelled.

British Columbians can reach the COVID information line from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., by calling 1 888 COVID19.

With files from CBC

We want to thank you for continuing to tune into our COVID-19 Now coverage. As we continue to report on how this pandemic is affecting Vancouver Island, we want to hear about how you are dealing with the crisis. If you are stuck overseas, have family members who are in lockdown areas, have had to cancel an event, or are impacted in any other way, please get in touch. We would also love to hear about how you are keeping busy while social distancing, and how you are staying in touch with loved ones. Please email [email protected]. If you include photos and videos, we will see if we can use them.

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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