ADA: What to Do If an Employee Has COVID-19

Dentistry Today


Dental practices are reopening, and dental teams are returning to the office. But what should you do if you or a member of your staff tests positive for COVID-19? The ADA has prepared guidelines to follow.

First, once the diagnosis is confirmed, follow all medical recommendations including quarantine for 14 days to monitor symptoms. Also, the person who has tested positive should seek medical treatment immediately if symptoms worsen.

Next, try to determine who may have had contact with the COVID-19-positive individual when they were in the office. Notify the office staff of the diagnosis, and ask each person when they were last in contact with the individual diagnosed with COVID-19. Get as detailed an answer as possible. Questions to ask include:

  • What was the date of the last contact?
  • How long was the contact?
  • What was the approximate distance of the contact?
  • Are you experiencing symptoms?

Also, instruct your staff to notify you immediately if they experience a change in symptoms.

Conduct a risk assessment for any healthcare provider who was exposed to the individual with the confirmed case of COVID-19 so they can take steps such as quarantining, seeking testing, and implementing any work restrictions as suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its Interim US Guidance for Risk Assessment and Public Health Management of Healthcare Personnel with Potential Exposure in a Healthcare Setting to Patients with Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) to determine self-quarantine and work restrictions.

Clean and disinfect environmental surfaces in the dental facility according to the guidance outlined in the CDC’s Interim Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Dental Settings During the COVID-19 Response.

Ask the unaffected staff to seek testing and to keep the rest of the staff informed regarding the date tested, when they received results and what those results were, the progression of symptoms, any hospitalization, improvement, et cetera.

Contact all patients who may have had contact with the COVID-19-positive individual to determine whether they’re symptomatic. Recommend that they self-quarantine for 14 days and notify their physician if symptoms develop.

Follow the recommendations of the CDC and your local public health authority for additional steps. See the CDC’s Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Healthcare Settings for guidance on infection control in a healthcare setting.

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