The Virginia Dental Association (VDA) Board of Directors has been closely monitoring the spread of the coronavirus; As dentists we are in one of the highest risk categories
for transmission and contraction of the Coronavirus, with many routine dental procedures having the potential to transmit the virus via aerosolization of fluids. As leaders in the healthcare profession, we are responsible for ensuring the safety of our citizens and for our dental teams. For this reason, the VDA Board of Directors has been closely monitoring the spread of the Coronavirus and had an emergency meeting today where we took a unanimous vote to recommend that dental offices in Virginia postpone any non-emergent care for two weeks starting 3/17/2020. The VDA leadership took this very difficult decision seriously and proposes the following plan of action subsequent to the two-week hiatus.
While the official figures in Virginia at this time are relatively low, we expect those numbers to grow in the coming weeks and in the interest of patient health, as the health of our team members and their families, these measures can play a role in limiting the spread throughout our entire community. We also expect these two weeks will give the CDC, ADA, and VDH time to establish additional safety measures above and beyond our already comprehensive universal standards of infection control.
At this point, this is a recommendation from the VDA, not a mandate. The circumstances here in Virginia and globally are changing quickly, and we expect to see other states join us in issuing recommendations to postpone non-emergent procedures.
There are still a number of variables and unknowns, but this proactive measure is aimed to limit the spread and keep patients and practitioners safe. Right now, our priority is to do our part to decrease the rate of transmission. Many of you have heard on the news in recent days of the importance of “flattening the curve” to prevent our health care system from being overwhelmed. If we can decrease the number of patients who require ICU care over the next several weeks, we will have done our part.
During these two weeks, the VDA will be working closely with federal and state resources to update very specific guidelines as they relate to social distancing, procedural modifications to control aerosolization, as well as educating our members on access to staff protective equipment and other safety measures.
As dentists, we are a major part of health care delivery in the country, and continuously prioritize the overall health of the patient. Taking responsible action right now is the best thing we can do at this time for our patients, for our office teams and for our health care system.
We also recognize that as small business owners, we have families and employees who rely on us; we want to ensure that we minimize the long-term impact on our offices as this virus ripples through the country. The ADA is advocating for relief for dental offices at the federal level and we will continue to advocate for our members in Richmond.
We will be frequently communicating updates that are coming at the local, state and federal level over the coming weeks via email, on our social media channels and on the VDA’s COVID-19 Hub
. We will also be putting out text message alerts – if you haven’t yet opted-in, text “VDA” to 52886.
At this challenging time, it is important to stay calm in the face of this storm and use science and knowledge to help us navigate forward. We will get through this together while continuing to advocate for the profession and lead the nation in ensuring that we are doing our part in decreasing the transmission of this very serious health concern.