With COVID-19 cases surging in Illinois and state and local officials advising residents to stay at home, dentists are naturally asking about how this affects them and their practices.
We wanted to share the facts that we know:
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has issued an advisory that residents and employees stay at home, if possible, for 30 days. It does not apply to schools or essential workers. As of this morning, Tuesday, Nov. 17, it is not a mandatory order. View the Chicago statement.
- Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in his press conference last week that cases are rising so rapidly that a stay-at-home order would be the next step if new cases don’t begin to level off. He did not indicate a threshold or timetable for making such a decision. A statement was not released by the governor’s office.
The American Dental Association and Illinois State Dental Society have worked over the last several months to advocate that dentists be considered “essential workers” and, therefore, exempt from lockdowns or stay-at-home orders. On Friday, ISDS shared with members a letter to the governor. Dentists may, as they wish and feel comfortable, continue to remain open to provide all treatment to patients.
Once again the need is great to stress to your staff and patients the steps you are taking at your office to keep them safe: PPE, distancing, ventilation improvements, heightened check-in procedures like prescreening and temperature checks, etc. Continued reassurance will go a long way to keep anxiety or fears under control. We urge you to talk with your staff to assure them you are taking steps to keep them safe and to encourage them to go over safety steps and protocols with patients as well.
More COVID-19 resources for your office can still be found at the CDS website. CDS developed for members a toolkit to use. Log in here to find the toolkit.
Additionally, here is a link to the CDS SafeSmiles campaign to add to your website or social media reinforcing the message to your patients that oral care is essential and safe.
CDS has been monitoring news that PPE availability is once again tightening. Please turn to the CDS PPE directory for availability and ordering information.
We anticipated COVID-19 wasn’t done with us in 2020. However, our dental family has responded generously and prudently in our communities, as we have through many health emergencies. We will continue to support one another and Keep Moving Forward.
Terri S. Tiersky, DDS, JD
Chicago Dental Society