18 February 2020

Coronavirus - managing the risks in general dental practice

Ongoing media coverage has highlighted the emergence of a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that originated in a food market in Wuhan, China in December 2019, before spreading globally. Infection control measures are critical to stopping the spread of the disease, especially with patients showing signs of respiratory illness.

Managing the risks in general dental practice

Ask reception staff to check with patients telephoning to make an appointment if they had:

1. Fever or history of fever AND acute respiratory infection (shortness of breath or cough or sore throat)
or severe acute respiratory infection without fever requiring hospitalisation.

2. Travelled to (including transit through) mainland China in the 14 days before onset of illness OR close contact within 14 days before illness onset with a confirmed or suspected case of 2019-nCoV.

3. Close contact (within 14 days of symptom onset) with any of the following:

  • Confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19
  • Healthcare facility in China.

If so, then recommend to the patient that they delay making any non-urgent dental appointments. It might also be wise to display a sign in the practice for patients walking in to make appointments.

Source: https://www.ada.org.au/News-Media/News-and-Release/Latest-News/Coronavirus

Further information

Australian Department of Health
Health alerts daily updates: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

Australian Dental Association member information
Availability of masks: https://www.ada.org.au/Campaign/Masks/mask_availability
General statement of management of the situation: https://www.ada.org.au/News-Media/News-and-Release/Latest-News/Coronavirus-and-masks