As we continue to ride out the unknowns of the COVID-19 pandemic, I know one thing for sure: the dental community is strong, cohesive, knowledgeable, and we will get through this together.
On April 16, Governor Cuomo extended NYS on PAUSE, in coordination with other states, until May 15. This extends the mandate that dental offices only respond to emergency services. We all know this is not the news we were hoping for, but understand that the safety of the public is the number one priority. With this news, we assure you that NYSDA is diligently working with the ADA Task Force for Post-Pandemic Dental Practice Recovery to develop tools for dentists to bounce back from the effects of pandemic-related practice restrictions and closures. We are all in favor of the return of full dental services in a safe environment for the dentists, their staffs and their patients as quick as possible.
We are in active conversations advocating for the development of a good POC quick test to determine the COVID-19 status of our dental patients. In addition, some practitioners are asking about getting PPE for their practices to treat emergency patients. I promise, we are working on a plan with the appropriate parties to get dental offices proper PPE when we get back to work. For the immediate need, each county has an Emergency Management System that provides "materials" in an emergency. You can find that information on your county website. We understand that contacting these sites can be difficult as they are overwhelmed with requests. The American Dental Association should be releasing PPE guidance soon. Be on the lookout for that information.
The New York State Department of Health guidelines define emergency services as urgent dental care, a somewhat more liberal standard as further explained in the American Dental Association guidelines on both emergency and urgent dental care below. The NYSDOH guidelines leave the determination of what is urgent care up to the professional clinical judgment of each dentist individually and makes reference to the American Dental Association (ADA) as a source of information on these clinical judgments.
The New York State Department of Health Guidelines