Important Information Regarding COVID-19
Out of an abundance of caution and genuine concern for the wellbeing of the public we serve and our professional staff, in March of 2020 Charlotte Oral Surgery (COS) made a significant investment in upgrading the HVAC and airflow management of our office environment in order to minimize the potential of airborne exposure and transmission of the SARS-2/COVID-19 virus in our facility.
At that time COS hired a third-party independent professional architectural firm (with expertise in healthcare airflow and HVAC management) to independently evaluate and assist in assessing airborne risks within our physical plant, requesting any recommendations they may generate to improve and mitigate airborne risks within our facility.
As a result of their work and investigation, COS has hired the same firm that has installed negative pressure rooms in a large regional hospital facility and has invested in the following COVID-19 specific administrative, environmental, and clinical safety changes to our clinical facility:
- Ionized air (via installation of plasma ionizing units) within ALL HVAC ductwork (this ionized air will attack any virus particle that is breathed in and out- both during normal respiration, as well as during any and all aerosolized procedures)- ACTIVE IN ALL AREAS OF THE CLINIC (we feel this is considered superior to UV-C, in that ALL air is treated). The ionization actively weighs down any virus particles being shed from the airways of asymptomatic carriers of the virus so that the virus particles more rapidly sinks to the ground and is either evacuated by the technologies discussed below, or the virus particles themselves are inactivated within a 30-minute timeframe.
- High-flow HEPA-filtered HVAC units have been custom installed in the patient treatment areas in order to provide high turnover filtration of all air within the room. The air exhausts within the operatories undergo HEPA filtration- so clean air is provided to each room.
- The HVAC air intakes in the operatories are also filtered (these rooms will be convertible to positive pressure rooms once the pandemic subsides). Hence, any recirculated air is clean.
- Free standing UHEPA filtration devices have been purchased and are operating in various locations throughout the clinic.
- All operatories and patient treatment areas have Negative Pressure (Air Isolation Room) capability. These rooms will be the primary designated rooms for patient use and interaction until the pandemic has subsided.
- High flow UHEPA– equipped vacuum suction have been acquired and are used to aspirate aerosols at the time of the procedure.
In addition, the following administrative and clinical protocols are followed:
- All patients are prescreened at time of making their appointment.
- A repeat screening will take place when the patients present to the clinic for evaluation, treatment, or follow-up.
- Employees will undergo pre-daily screening evaluation for temperature and absence of symptoms.
- All patients (and staff) will be required to present to the office with a face mask in place. If they don’t have a mask, a mask will be provided prior to entering our facility.
- Ideally, consultations (and all possible follow-up visits) to be held via telemedicine/ teledentistry visits.
- Staff will wear a mask at all times and maintain social distancing to the maximum extent possible.
- Within three days prior to any surgical procedures (or as needed) onsite point-of-care rapid molecular PCR testing for COVID-19 virus is required for each patient. While the patient may choose to have this testing performed elsewhere, this testing is being offered and performed at our facility with 20-minute result time.
- In order to guard against false-positive PCR test results, self-contained HEPA-filtered Positive Air Pressure Respirator devices (PAPR’s) will be used by clinic personnel for any face-to-face aerosol-generating procedure. N95 masks (or their equivalent) with required face shields will be used as needed as alternatives, and will be worn for all face-to-face consultation and follow-up visits.
- New glass partitions have been installed to eliminate direct person to person face-to-face contact with front-desk and administrative staff.
- Hand sanitizers are distributed throughout the clinic for use.
- All staff have been offered (and have received) one of the COVID vaccines. At the individual employee’s discretion exceptions may apply to those staff who are pregnant or attempting to become pregnant.
We believe the above measures meet and/or exceed those recommended by OSHA, AAOMS, the ADA, the CDC, and all national organizations.
How long should a patient wait to have elective surgery after they have had a confirmed COVID-19 infection?
We follow the American Society of Anesthesiologist’s recommendations for elective surgical treatment following COVID infection.
Suggested wait times from the date of COVID-19 diagnosis to surgery as:
- Four weeks for an asymptomatic patient or recovery from only mild, non-respiratory symptoms.
- Six weeks for a symptomatic patient (e.g., cough, dyspnea) who did not require hospitalization.
- Eight to 10 weeks for a symptomatic patient who is diabetic, immunocompromised, or hospitalized.
- Twelve weeks for a patient who was admitted to an intensive care unit due to COVID-19 infection.
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As dedicated health care professionals, we want you to know that we remain as diligent as ever in protecting the health and safety of our patients and staff. Our practice strictly adheres to and exceeds the standards for infection control by wearing personal protective gear, using hospital-grade disinfectants, practicing the latest sterilization protocols, utilizing single-use disposable materials, and more. Every effort we have in place is to ensure the safety of our patients and staff. We want you to know that we are monitoring this situation very closely, and we will keep you updated regularly.
Symptoms of coronavirus are reported as flu-like, with varying degrees of severity. While we do not know everything about this virus to date, individuals who are elderly and/or immunocompromised appear to be the most at risk of a severe infection. To ensure your health and safety, and the health and safety of everyone at our practice, please reschedule your appointment if you or a member of your household has a cough, fever, and/or flu-like symptoms. In addition, please reschedule your appointment if you have traveled to any areas within the past 14 days that are at high risk for contracting the coronavirus.
We thank you in advance and extend our gratitude for your understanding and cooperation. Together, we can help keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office, and one of our staff members will be more than happy to assist you.
For further information, including measures to keep yourself healthy, visit the following links:
- Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html
- Symptoms: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html
- Steps When Sick: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html