CORONAVIRUS/ COVID-19 UPDATE — Patient Safety Policy

From Dr. Katrice L. Thomas and Your Dental Team,

We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health. We wanted to give you an update on the status of the practice during the current COVID- 19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

The health and safety of our patients, our team, and the community we serve remain our top priority.

As of April 30, 2020, we are now under the Governor’s Safer At Home Health Order. The number of coronavirus cases in Alabama is still very high, which is a concern as we are in the process of reopening safely. Our office remains closed until May 18, 2020. We are on the lookout for any future recommendations and new guidelines from the Center for Disease and Prevention (CDC), American Dental Association (ADA), Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), and the Alabama Board of Dental Examiners.

Since March 19, 2020, we have been following the recommendations from the CDC, ADA, and ADPH regarding patients experiencing a dental emergency. This change in scheduling was an effort to assist in following social distancing guidelines.

We are doing everything we can to keep you healthy and safe in this troubled time. In addition to the standard hygiene and universal protocols established by the CDC, ADA, and OSHA, we will continue to implement infection control procedures that exceed the CDC, ADA, and OSHA requirements. We will adhere to any new rulings or guidance by the CDC to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Therefore, in compliance with the Alabama Board of Dental Examiners’ new dental protocol due to COVID-19, you may see some changes when it is time for your next appointment. We are making these changes to help protect our patients and team.

COVID-19 Protocol Changes

  • Pre-Screening: Our office will communicate with you beforehand and ask some pre-screening questions. We’ll repeat those questions when you come in for your appointment. It’s just a precaution to make sure we’re doing what we can to keep other patients or staff members safe.
  • Closed Reception Area: When you arrive we will ask you to remain in your car and call us rather than letting you into the reception area. This new policy complies with the Alabama Board of Dental Examiners’ mandate to close our reception area. When we are ready to bring you into the treatment room, we will call/text you.
  • Only the Patient May Enter: You may not bring anyone to your appointment with you (except for minors or persons with mental/physical disability, in which case, you may bring one guardian or caretaker).  We can only allow you to enter the office for your appointment and anyone accompanying you will be asked to remain in the car. However, as always, we will keep them informed about you, your appointment, and any other relevant information.
  • Washing Stations: We will have hand sanitizer that we will ask you to use when you enter the office. If none is available we will ask you to wash your hands.
  • Mask Mandate: We ask that all patients wear masks when you enter the office.
  • Temperature Measurements: We will take our temperature every morning before seeing patients and we will take your temperature before you are admitted into the office.
  • Waiting Room Changes: You may see that our waiting room will no longer offer magazines, children’s toys, and so forth, since those items are difficult to clean and disinfect. Also, we have spaced our chairs 6 feet apart and selected them to let you know which chairs to use.
  • Fewer Appointments Available: We will space out appointments to allow for social distancing between patients. That might mean that you are offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment. We will do our best to allow greater time between patients to reduce waiting times for you. Hopefully, this will reduce the number of patients in the office at any one time.

Starting May 11th, we will begin the process of rescheduling appointments missed between March 23rd and May 18th.

Thank you for your patience during this COVID-19 pandemic crisis. We appreciate the trust you place in our dental team and your loyalty. We will continue to pray for your health and strength and look forward to seeing you again soon!

Sincerely,

Katrice L. Thomas, D.M.D. and Your Dental Team