Update March 16, 2020
PCOMS takes the health and safety of our members working in hospitals, private outpatient clinics and ambulatory centers, their staff and our patients seriously. The continued spread of COVID-19 in the country has placed us under Code Red Level 2. Actively looking at dynamic health situation we are in as healthcare professional we have the responsibility to look after health and well-being of our patients and likewise protect our staff, ourselves and the community against this growing health concern.
Following the emergency but temporary measures that our government has taken to curb to spread of COVID-19, pursuant to the guidelines formulated by the designated agencies. The Philippine Dental Association in its part has made a pronouncement and recommendations to avoid community contamination in the dental practice (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DUxYJN_i4iC_bJLZZ0A0qp7KSlH_V_wx/view). Consequently the Philippine College of Surgeons and the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons have issued recommendations. The Philippine College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (PCOMS) enjoins and highly recommends these guidelines.
We further reiterate the following suggestions among its members.
- Minimize surgical patients to those that require urgent and emergency care. Reducing hospital admissions for elective dental surgical procedure will free up beds for coronavirus patients and those that are in need of urgent care following the COVID-19 outbreak.
- In case urgent or emergency treatment is necessary together with other medical providers, determination on an appropriate precaution to safely treat the patient is prudent. An in-hospital treatment with proper facility and protocol to treat potentially infectious patient is highly recommended.
- Re-scheduling of non-urgent and elective procedures is advised. Scheduling of patients to control foot traffic and number in clinic waiting areas is likewise recommended.
- Consider reducing clinic hours and days to limit patient contact. Facilities like web-based/telephone consultation and follow-up could be an alternative to actual patient contact.
- Follow and coordinate with your institutions regarding the respectively guidelines set for the welfare of the all patients and healthcare workers that provide health services to them. PPE and adherence to standard and transmission based precaution is imperative to all clinician regardless of where you perform your procedures.
- In unavoidable clinic visits, Screening of patients before they proceed with appointments is highly recommended, noting history of travel from countries or local areas/regions that have health notices for COVID-19, signs of acute respiratory illness and close contact based on exposure guidelines.
We would like to reassure you that PCOMS will continue to monitor and update the current COVID-19 outbreak and provide key information and evidence-based-guidelines to our members. Given the evolving situation we are all in, we are in unison with the country its agencies, other healthcare workers and professionals exerting our efforts to curb the progression of this disease.
The following are links providing additional guidance for healthcare professional.
- DOH information and Guidance: https://www.doh.gov.ph/2019-nCoV
- WHO Information and Guidance: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
- CDC resource : https://cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- Transmission routes of 2019-nCov in dental practice: https://nature.com/articles/s41368-020-0075-9
- Coronavirus disease 2019: Challenges in for dental and oral medicine: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0022034520914246
In solidarity let us join together and do our share to halt the spread of the disease, we all have a role to avert the escalation of this contagion