Dear Mercato Dental Centre Patients and Family,
We are very excited to welcome our patients back to Mercato Dental Centre! Although, many things have changed due to the COVID 19 pandemic, our commitment to your safety have never wavered.
Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice and we continue to follow guidelines set by the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia (CDSBC), BC Center for Disease (CDC) and Work Safe BC so that you and your family may continue to receive safe and comfortable care.
STEP 1. Risk Assessment
- The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads in several ways. It can spread in droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. It can also spread if you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your face.
- The risk of person-to-person transmission increases the closer you come to other people, the more time you spend near them, and the more people you come near.
- The risk of surface transmission increases when many people contact the same surface and when those contacts happen over short periods of time.
- We have involved frontline workers and dentists.
- We have identified areas where people gather, such as break rooms, operatories, waiting room and dentist rooms.
- We have identified job tasks and processes where workers are close to one another or members of the public.
- We have identified the tools, machinery, and equipment that workers share while working.
- We have identified surfaces that people touch often, such as doorknobs, reception desk, and light switches.
Step 2. Implement Protocols to Reduce the risks
First Level Protection (Elimination)
Limit the number of people at the workplace and ensure physical distance whenever possible.
- Skeleton Staff: We have limited the number of our staff to reduce the number of people in the office. We ask for your patience.
- Staff wont be in break room together to facilitate distancing.
- Scheduling: Please be on time for your appointment. We have taken care to strategically schedule appointments to reduce the number of people in the office.
- All appointments or inquiries must be made by phone.
- The number of appointments are reduced and staggered.
- Patients are asked to come alone. Children are seen for emergencies only. If assistance is needed, a maximum of 1 accompanying adult is allowed.
- The Door is locked and the Waiting/Playroom Area is closed off. Patients must wait outside of the office until their appointment time. They will be allowed in when the room is ready for them to enter directly and not cross paths with another patient.
- Telehealth Consultation: Ask for a telehealth consultation if you do not feel comfortable coming into the clinic.
Second Level Protection (Engineering) Barriers and Partitions
- Reception Area: We have installed plexiglass barrier at the front desk. We have removed all magazines, toys, coffee and other refreshment as these items are difficult to clean and disinfect.
- We have included barrier cleaning in our cleaning protocols.
- Air filtration Units were installed to help scrub the air.
- Point of Sale machine barrier is replaced after each use.
Third Level Protection (Administrative) Rules and Guidelines
- COVID-19 Screening: Our office will communicate with patients beforehand to ask some screening questions. You will be asked those same questions again before entry to the office. This will include a temperature check.
- Patients will do a pre-procedural rinse.
- Staff Screening: All dentists and staff are screened daily for COVID-19 symptoms. They will also change into and out of work clothes at the office.
- Hand Sanitization: We have hand sanitizers that we will ask you to use when you enter the office. You will find some in the reception area and throughout the clinic. Staff must perform hand hygiene upon entry to the office, entry and exit of operatories.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): You will notice our clinical staff will look a bit different with all our PPE gear on. Our clinical staff will wear face-shields, gowns, N95 masks, level 3 masks, gloves and headcaps. We are still smiling underneath all the PPE!
- Sterilization and Disinfection: Thorough and frequent disinfection and sterilization before and after each appointment. Our office follows or exceeds all prescribed infection prevention and control (IPAC) guidelines.
- High touch areas: are sanitized multiple times a day. Wipe down all equipment after each use.
Fourth Level Protection: Using Masks
- Mask: A mask is not mandatory for patients but we do appreciate if patients would wear one while outside the operatories.
- All staff in operatories and lab will wear masks at all times. Others will wear masks when social distancing restrictions are not possible.
- Masks and faceshields required for AGMP
- Masks and safety glasses for non-AGMP.
Reduce the risk of surface transmission through effective cleaning and hygiene practices.
- Assigned a primary cleaner.
- Handwashing policy: Hand hygiene to be performed upon entry to the office and upon entry and exit of operatories.
- Signage are posted throughout the office.
- High touch areas, including washrooms are sanitized multiple times a day.
- Unnecessary tools and equipment were removed.
Step 3. Develop policies
Our workplace policies ensure that
workers and others showing symptoms of COVID-19 are prohibited from the workplace:
- Anyone who has had symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 10 days. Symptoms include fever, chills, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, and new muscle aches or headache.
- Anyone directed by Public Health to self-isolate.
- Anyone who has arrived from outside of Canada or who has had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case must self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.
- Visitors are prohibited or limited in the workplace.
- Ensure workers have the training and strategies required to address the risk of violence that may arise as customers and members of the public adapt to restrictions or modifications to the workplace. Ensure an appropriate violence prevention program is in place.
Our policy addresses workers who may start to feel ill at work. It includes the following:
- Sick workers should
- report to first aid, even with mild symptoms.
- Sick workers should be asked to wash or sanitize their hands, provided with a mask, and isolated. Ask the worker to go straight home. [Consult the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool, or call 811 for further guidance related to testing and self-isolation.]
- If the worker is severely ill (e.g., difficulty breathing, chest pain), call 911.
- Clean and disinfect any surfaces that the ill worker has come into contact with.
Step 4. Develop Communication Plans and Training
- We have a training plan to ensure everyone is trained in workplace policies and procedures.
- All workers have received the policies for staying home when sick.
- We have posted signage at the workplace, including occupancy limits and effective hygiene practices.
- We have posted signage at the main entrance indicating who is restricted from entering the premises, including visitors and workers with symptoms.
- Supervisors have been trained on monitoring workers and the workplace to ensure policies and procedures are being followed.
Step 5. Monitor and Update
- We have a plan in place to monitor risks. We make changes to our policies and procedures as necessary.
- Workers know who to go to with health and safety concerns.
- When resolving safety issues, we will involve joint health and safety committees or worker health and, other workers.
Step 6. Assess and address risks from resuming operations
- We have a training plan for new staff.
- We have a training plan for staff taking on new roles or responsibilities.
- We have a training plan around changes to our business, such as new equipment, processes, or products.
- We have reviewed the start-up requirements for vehicles, equipment, and machinery that have been out of use.
- We have identified a safe process for clearing systems and lines of product that have been out of use.
We are looking forward to being there for you in-person again. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.
Mercato Dental Team