March 23, 2020
RE: Coronavirus update
I want to keep you informed about the latest information on the coronavirus and how our office will be handling this situation. As many of you know, my daughter was chief resident at Massachusetts General Hospital last year and in fellowship this year in Gastroenterology. Currently she has been asked to temporarily act as chief resident from home due to some coronavirus exposures to staff. I am getting constant feedback from her on the progress of the pandemic.
The Medical Community has a three-tiered approach to confronting this crisis. You should already know this from watching and reading. In case you do not know I will briefly discus this. The long-term solution or step three is to develop a vaccine which will render people immune to this virus in the future. That is 12-18 months away with good fortune.
The second step is developing medications to treat and or prevent infections. This may be around the corner or sometime in the future. The use of Hydroxychloroquine (plaquenil) and Azithromycin is currently being investigated as is Remdesivir. These and other drugs are in investigative studies.
The first step is Prevention. Just as in my philosophy with dental disease not getting the coronavirus disease in the first place is paramount. Everyone must take this seriously to protect everyone! Think of this as all of us in one big boat. We either sink or float together. We must all bail to keep this ship afloat.
Some communities will be better / more cooperative than others and the statistics that are coming are a good forecast of this. The State of Washington where this first started has been very aggressive and new cases have declined recently. The state of New York has exploded in new cases in the last 24 hours almost doubling. Certainly, the arrival of test kits has also shed light on the number of new cases. Regardless of the data coming in, it is safe to assume that this virus will spread throughout the population with time. We must delay this spread to reduce the number of patients that will require medical care.
The American Dental Association has recommended that all elective dental procedures be suspended until the “all clear and safe to proceed” announcement is made. Most states have adopted this as well. We will be closed for this period of time and I am personally monitoring all phone calls to my office via call forwarding. Bryn and I have a comprehensive list of all patients and procedures that will require attention including regular cleanings, TMJ splints, orthodontic appliances, dental restorations, crowns, implants, periodontal and endodontic procedures and sleep appliances. We will be contacting you as soon as we get permission to return to business. Be assured that your dental health AND your medical safety are our utmost priority.
Dental emergencies will be handled on an as needed basis. The first step if you have a life-threatening emergency is 911 and emergency room of your local hospital. Please do not burden them with nonlife- threating conditions. Call me if you have a dental problem so that I can help you. Ideally, treatment via medication rather than an office visit will be considered. If we do have to see you in my office please observe the social distancing of 6 feet, leave all non-essential family or friends in the car and bring a complete list of all medications you are taking. We will review your recent past for any exposure to coronavirus and will proceed with the utmost of caution using respirator masks, face shields and gowns.
We intend to separate all appointments with sufficient time to sterilize instruments, disinfect all surfaces and ventilate the office. Our office has always adopted a low volume high quality practice philosophy because I believe that lower fees, overbooked schedules and high-speed treatment is a formula for disaster. Many of you have heard me say “Speed Kills” and “Do the work once, do it right and take really good care of yourself with excellent home care and prevention appointments”. This should enable you to sustain a longer than normal recall date without getting into trouble.
Please stay safe, stay home, isolate yourself from exposure, practice good home care (with those interdental brushes I have always talked about) and I will call you as soon as this Pandemic is under control!
Dr. Walsh, Aleida and Bryn