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Reminder: Patient Screening Still Required

In addition to patient screening for aerosol transmissible diseases (ATDs) as required under Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Disease Standard for employee protection, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommends that dental offices continue to perform COVID-19 patient screening. In addition to ATD screening for acute respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, fever, or cough) and obtaining health history, dental healthcare personnel (DHCP) should continue asking at reception about COVID-19 symptoms and recent close contacts. Patient treatment should be deferred if patients are symptomatic or if patients had recent close contact(s). A screening form may be used but it is not required. Record in a patient’s record that they were screened for COVID-19 and other ATDs.

Taking Temperature Not Required

Dental offices do not need take patient temperatures as part of patient screening; however, a dental office may choose to do so. Instead, a qualitative fever assessment should be included in the screening questions.

Patient Vaccination Status

While asking patients about their vaccination status is not required, knowing a patient’s vaccination status may help guide treatment decisions during substantial or high community transmission levels. Therefore, a COVID-19 vaccination status question should be included on patient screening and/or health history forms. Keep in mind that patients reserve the right not to answer, just as they reserve the right not to answer any health history question.

Be on the Lookout for Monkeypox

In addition to common illnesses such as the flu and common cold, as well COVID-19, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging healthcare providers to be on alert and screen for patients who have rash illnesses consistent with monkeypox. Distinguishing features of the rash include papules, vesicles, pustules, or scabs that are deep-seated, firm or rubbery, and have well-defined round borders. They may be painful, painless, or itchy. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, swollen lymph nodes and respiratory symptoms, with onset either in the period preceding the rash or with the rash. Patient treatment should be deferred if patients are symptomatic or if patients had recent close contact(s) to monkeypox.

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