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Int J Periodontics Restorative Dent 40 (2020), No. 6 11. Nov. 2020
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020. SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has shown the ability to become aerosolized with a potential airborne route of transmission. Dentists and dental hygienists are listed as two of the occupations in a nonhospital setting with the greatest risk of contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus, as routine dental procedures involve aerosol generation. In a statement on interim guidance, WHO recommended that all routine dental procedures be delayed until COVID-19 transmission rates decrease from community transmission to cluster cases and until the risk of transmission in a dental office can be studied and evaluated. This prospective study involves 2,810 patients treated over a 6-month period (March 15 to September 15, 2020) in three different dental offices by two dentists and three hygienists during and shortly after the height of the pandemic in New York. By utilizing screening questionnaires, performing enhanced infection control, and having appropriate personal protective equipment, these dental offices were able to record no transmission of COVID-19 to the dental healthcare workers or patients during the study. In addition, 69% of the patients treated in these dental offices were recorded as having one or more high-risk comorbidities related to COVID-19 severity.