May 31, 2020

Governor Andrew Cuomo officially announces the

reopening of dental offices in New York State beginning June 1, 2020.   

Our office follows infection control recommendations made by the American Dental Association (ADA), the     U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  We follow the activities of these agencies so that we are up-to-date on and new rulings or guidance that may be issued.  We do this to make sure that our infection control procedures are current and adhere to each agencies’ recommendations.

You may see some changes when it is time for your next appointment.  We made these changes to help protect our patients and staff.  For example:

  • Our office will communicate with you beforehand to ask some screening questions. You’ll be asked those same questions again when you are in the office.
  • We have hand sanitizer that we will ask you to use when you enter the office. You will also find some in the reception area and other places in the office for you to use as needed.
  • You may see that the waiting room will no longer offer magazines, children’s toys and so forth, since those items are difficult to clean and disinfect.
  • Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. That might mean that you’re offer fewer options for scheduling your appointment.
  • We will do our best to allow greater time between patients to reduce waiting times for you, as well as to reduce the number of patients in the reception are at any one time.

We look forward to seeing you again and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we take to keep you, and every patient, safe in our practice.  To make an appointment, please call our office at (607) 733-3760.

Thank you for being our patient.  We value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming back our patients, neighbors and friends.


                        SAFETY STANDARDS                       

OUR TEAM

 

Training and Education Our Team

One of the most important things we are doing during this time is to train and educate our staff.

  • Our team has had refresher training in proper hand washing techniques. This may seem basic; however, it is the most important thing we can do to prevent spread of the virus, yet research shows that it is often poorly complied with and usually not done well.  Consequently, we have spent a lot of time ensuring that our team does it well and often, especially before and after every patient encounter.
  • They have practiced the appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) prior to caring for a patient to prevent contamination.
  • We encourage staff that is not feeling well to proactively stay home.
  • We take all employees temperature at the beginning of every day and we will immediately send home anyone with an elevated temperature (100.4 F and above).
  • Limit the numbers of staff providing their care to facilitate social distancing within the office and among team members.
  • We have created a specific checklist of recommendations for our team to follow so that they arrive to work healthy and go home to their families without worry. (see Recommendations for Our Team)

Recommendations for Our Team

Before coming to work

  • Do not go in to work if you are experiencing symptoms; cough, sore throat, fever…etc.
  • They have practiced the appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) prior to caring for a patient to prevent contamination.

At work

  • Use PPE as appropriate
  • Leave all clutter (pens, phones, etc.) outside of patient op rooms
  • We discourage workers from using other workers phones, desks, offices and other work tools and equipment when possible.
  • Clean phone handset after use
  • Discourage cell phone use at work

After work

  • Wash hands and arms with soap
  • Wash hands and put clean clothes on
  • Sanitize phone, glasses, etc.
  • Wash hands again

At home

  • Remove shoes and clothes
  • Wash clothes/scrubs in washing machine with detergent and hot water
  • Shower immediately with soap and water before touching anything (including loved ones)

   

OUR PATIENTS

 Patient Interviews and Social Distancing

Before patient arrival every effort is made to

  • Filter patients during the phone call when scheduling appointments for care using established and recommended screening checklists and scripts
  • Prepare scripts and questions to recognize potential carriers
  • Reschedule patients who show any signs of a cough or fever or who describe having any concerning warnings signs
  • Instruct patients to call ahead and reschedule their appointment if they develop symptoms of a respiratory infection (e.g. cough, sore throat or fever) on the day they are scheduled to be seen.

To promote social distancing

  • Prioritize high risk patients (immune compromised, over 60 years old etc.) so less contact with other people
  • When booking patients, we are spreading out the schedule so there are no people in the waiting room
  • If a patient is being accompanied, their escort should wait in the car to promote social distancing
  • Utilizing a “virtual” waiting room: request patients wait in their car where they can be contacted by mobile phone when it is their turn to be treated
  • Patients arriving by bus, taxi, etc. are provided with a waiting area in the vestibule until it is their turn to be treated

Safety measures taken upon arrival

  • Limit points of entry to the office
  • Post visual alerts (e.g., signs, posters) at the entrance door advising patients of the COVID-19 risk and advising them not to enter the facility when ill.
  • Masks and tissues are made accessible immediately upon entry and instructions are provided on how to use tissues to cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, to dispose of tissues and contaminated items in waste receptacles.
  • Provide supplies such as alcohol-based had rub (ABHR) with 60-95% alcohol, tissues and no-touch receptacles for disposal, at the entrance.
  • Post photos at the entrance and in waiting room to provide patients and HCP (Health Care Personnel) with instructions (in appropriate languages) about hand hygiene respiratory hygiene, and cough etiquette.
  • how and when to perform hand hygiene,
  • how to use tissues or elbows to cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing,
  • how to dispose of tissues and contaminated items in waste receptacle

Measures Upon Arrival – ALL measures can help to prevent transmission to others.

Patients are

  • Immediately met in designated area for temperature check and hand washing station
  • Escorted into an examination room with the door closed as quickly as possible upon arrival to avoid lingering in front office.
  • Asked about the presence of symptoms of a respiratory infection and history of travel or contact with possible COVID-19 patients.
  • Assessed for respiratory symptoms and fever (with a non-contact digital infrared forehead thermometer).

 

OUR OFFICE

 Measures taken Upon Patient Entry to the Clinic

  • If an examination room is not readily available, patients are asked to wait in their car. They will be called by telephone when their room is ready
  • Remove all clutter and anything that is not easily disinfected from the waiting room (magazines, area rugs, pillows, toys, etc.)
  • Cover all furniture that cannot be disinfected with disposable covers (including chairs and couches) which will be replaced after each patient
  • Frequent wipe down of waiting rooms, bathrooms, door handles, tables, light switches, computers…etc.

Reception Room and Front Desk Safety Measures

  • Install physical barriers or partitions (e.g., glass or plastic window) if possible, at reception areas to limit close contact between reception and potentially infectious patients.
  • Discouraging the use of other employee’s phones and other office equipment so only one person uses it.
  • Adjusting air-handling systems – HVAC systems have been set to continuously filter air and additional filters have been added. Air filtration units have been added to the operatories to filter the air continuously (exchange rate of 6 times per hour).

Protocols of the Clinical Team

We adhere to usual standard and transmission-based precautions in operatory but with greater attention to detail and ensure that procedures are followed consistently and correctly.

A team member will be responsible for cleaning, sterilizing, disinfecting and wiping down everything in the operatories and in the waiting room; chairs, handles, light switches, tables…etc. on a regular basis.

Hand Hygiene is performed by our staff

  • Before and after all patient contact, contact with potentially infectious materials and before putting on and after removing personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves.
  • After removing PPE in order to remove any pathogens that might have been transferred to bare hands during the removal process.
  • Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or hand sanitizer

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Wear PPE (masks, gloves, cap, eye protection, face shields, gowns)
  • Masks are one time use and replace if soiled
  • N95 respirators should be used instead of a facemask when performing or present for an aerosol-generating procedure.

Eye Protection

  • Put on eye protection (i.e., goggles or a disposable face shield that covers the front and sides of the face) upon entry to the patient room or care area.
  • Remove eye protection when leaving the patient room or care area.
  • Reusable eye protection (e.g., goggles) must be cleaned and disinfected according to manufacturer’s reprocessing instructions prior to re-use.

Gloves

  • Put on clean, non-sterile gloves upon entry into the patient room or care area.
  • Change gloves if they become torn or heavily contaminated.
  • Remove and discard gloves when leaving the patient room or area, and immediately perform hand hygiene.

Gowns

  • Put on a clean isolation gown upon entry into the patient room or area.
  • Change the gown if it becomes soiled. Remove and discard the gown in a waste container when leaving the patient room or care area. 
  • Gowns should be prioritized for all aerosol-generating procedures and during activities where splashes and sprays are anticipated.

Patients in the Operatory

  • Health care personnel (HCP) should strictly follow basic infection control practices between patients (e.g., hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfection shared equipment).
  • Limit transport and movement of the patient outside of the room
  • No other team member should enter the room during a procedure and if necessary, should use PPE as described above.
  • Room doors should be kept closed except when entering or leaving the room, and entry and exit should be minimized.
  • After this time has elapsed, the room should undergo appropriate cleaning and surface disinfection before it is returned to routine use
  • Special precautions will be taken when performing Aerosol Generating procedures (AGP), in particular, procedures that are likely to induce coughing are avoided if possible.
  • Operatories are single patient care only. Aerosol-generating procedures are always in a separate op.

Protocols After the Clinical Treatment

  • All non-disposable medical equipment used for patient care should be cleaned and disinfected according to manufacturer’s instruction.
  • Ensure that environmental cleaning and disinfection procedures are followed consistently and correctly.
  • Routine cleaning and disinfection procedures (e.g., using cleaners and water to pre-clean surfaces prior to applying an EPA-registered, hospital-grade disinfectant to frequently touched surfaces or objects for appropriate contact times as indicated on the product’s label) are appropriate for SARS-Co V-2 in healthcare settings, including those patient-care areas in which aerosol-generating procedures are performed.

Safety Measures After the Visit

  • Review of estimates and insurance forms can be carried out via phone call or video conferencing and sent via mail
  • Patients are provided with hand sanitizer at check-out areas.

 We are confident that these guidelines will help to create a safe environment for all of our  patients and team members and hope that you can feel secure in the knowledge that we are doing everything in our power to provide the safest clinical conditions in order to protect our patients, our team and our families.


Please view and share our latest COVID-19 Symptom Comparison Chart with your friends and family.

For further information, including measures to keep yourself healthy, visit the following links: