Last updated: May 29, 2020
This is a rapidly evolving situation and information is changing frequently. Find important links, resources, and guidance regarding COVID-19 below. You may also access information from the New York State Department of Health or call their novel coronavirus hotline for advice at: 1-888-364-3065.
Additional resources can also be found on the American Dental Association website.
The emergence of a new infectious disease reemphasizes the importance of vigilance relative to all aspects of infection control for Dental Healthcare Workers. Dental specific infection control during COVID-19 information may be referenced on the CDC website.
Governor Cuomo today announced that five upstate regions – Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country, and Southern Tier – are entering Phase II of reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic. Phase II includes all professional services. Dentistry is not excluded from being a professional service and has, along with medicine, always been defined as such.
Guidelines issued for professional services offices note that medical and dental offices must adhere to their own guidelines, which would include adherence to all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines, as well as the American Dental Association dental office reopening guidelines.
If and when the New York State Department of Health issues any of its own dental office guidelines separate from the CDC and OSHA, those too must be followed. However, given statements made over time by the Department of Health and the Empire State Development Corporation, there is no reason to assume that dentistry is being delayed past Phase II for fully reopening in the five upstate regions, with additional reopenings expected in other regions as they too commence Phase II operations.
For all dentists reopening and those preparing to reopen in the near future, we recommend reviewing the “Return to Work Guidance” on nysdental.org/covid19 for help implementing your COVID-19 office procedures. It focuses on the short-term management of dental practices as they begin providing non-emergent care.
NYSDA continues to diligently represent and advocate on the behalf of New York’s dentists with the goal of achieving a statewide opening. As mentioned above, those currently in Phase II can open.
Thank you for your continuing support and participation, and for your valued membership. It makes a difference.
More good news about NYSDA's reopening efforts:
Dr. Chris Salierno from Suffolk County Dental Society and Dr. Steven Luccarelli from Nassau County Dental Society were interviewed by WABC TV Eyewitness News on Long Island (5/28) on how dentists are prepared to safely reopen and care for the oral health of the public.
Dr. Sergey Berenshteyn spoke to the Albany Business Review (5/27, Dawes, Subscription Publication) as part of a nationwide series "Small Business, Big Mission." He discusses how the pandemic as effected his business and the plan he and his staff have put together to prevent spread of the virus after the offices reopen.
"New York dental association: let us reopen our offices fully" published by the Albany Times Union (5/27, Carballo) who interviewed Executive Director Dr. Mark J. Feldman and member dentist, Dr. Eric McMahon from Fourth District Dental Society, on how dentists are well prepared to safely fully reopen their practices using state guidelines and OSHA-approved workplace precautions.
Dr. Stacey, President of Fifth District Dental Society spoke with Syracuse.com to share how he and fellow central NY dentists are preparing to safely reopen. "CNY dentists have spent 'insane' amounts to reopen safely; when will they get the chance?" (Post-Stands/Syracuse.com. 5/27/2020, Coin)
"NYSDA Asks Cuomo to Reopen New York Dental Practices" (Dentistry Today 5/21/2020)
Dr. Mitola, President of Third District Dental Society, sat down with the Albany Business Review to discuss the importance of pushing to resume services as they face patient backlogs. (Albany Business Review 5/26/2020, Dawes, Subscription Publication)
May 22, 2020
CDC has updated the Interim Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Dental Settings During the COVID-19 Response with guidance for resuming non-emergency dental care during the COVID-19 pandemic. These updates include expanded recommendations for providing dental care to both patients with COVID-19 and patients without COVID-19, as well as new recommendations for patient management, administrative, engineering, and work practice controls, sterilization and disinfection, and the use of test-based strategies to inform patient care. Dental health care personnel should apply the updated interim guidance, as well as the guidance found in the Framework for Healthcare Systems Providing Non-COVID-19 Clinical Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic, as they lay out plans to resume non-emergency dental care. https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/infectioncontrol/statement-COVID.html
Today, the New York State Dental Association initiated a grass roots effort seeking member involvement to help strengthen our continuing efforts to expedite the full reopening of dental offices.
NYSDA provided information and a sample letter to guide members in advocating with their local legislators to help spur the implementation of final state guidelines and allow all dental offices throughout the state to reopen immediately. In addition, we sent a statewide press release to inform the media and general public that remaining in emergent/urgent only status in New York has the potential to threaten overall patient health.
Dental offices have been open for emergent/urgent care throughout the COVID-19 crisis and have been handling these challenging cases with extreme care. We are more than ready to extend these cautionary practices to all patients as we provide standard dental care. It is unacceptable that our patients have been denied full access to dental care for more than 60 days. The health of patients whose care has been delayed for months is at risk as once manageable issues can quickly become urgent without treatment.
NYSDA representatives are also in discussions with several reporters regarding the impact this delay is causing on the business of dentistry as profession. Many practitioners have been forced to close their offices due to financial hardship and more are likely to follow without immediate state action.View Press Release
Please do whatever you can to help advocate with us for the full reopening of dental practices in New York.
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NYSDA has created a breakdown of the ADA Return to Work Interim Guidance, and included New York State specific information. We address questions on interim coding and billing for PPE, patient consent forms, employee screening, and so much more.
The latest Executive Order #202.31 from Governor Cuomo, coupled with the official listing of essential business services from the New York State Empire State Development Corporation, demonstrate that no dental office of any type can open anywhere in New York State except for emergency/urgent services. Stay tuned to NYSDA for daily updates on this information.
This is a very fluid situation. As soon as dental offices can reopen for all treatments, NYSDA will notify you. NYSDA is strongly advocating with the Governor and the Department of Health for dental offices to return to full service as quickly as possible. We have communicated our position to both the Governor and the Department of Health and we will press our argument, not just for the benefit of dentists, but also for the patients they serve.