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COVID-19 Update

UPDATE: March 26, 2020

We would like to thank our patients and dental team members for their patience and understanding during this time of continued uncertainty.  For all citizens, global and local, it has been a time of education, empathy, and perseverance.  Further to our letter last week, we would like to provide an update. 

The uncertainty of the progress of COVID-19 leaves all business and industry undecided for a safe return to normal activity.  We are not exempt in Lantzville.  The rules are changing for protocols for the delivery of dental services for seeing patients with COVID-19.  In our clinic, we will update our procedures and we will maintain best practices in the hopes of opening the clinic as soon as possible. 

At this time, all currently scheduled appointments will be rescheduled and we will contact patients upon our re-opening.  New appointments will occur only at a time when the College of Dental Surgeons of B.C. considers it safe to do so.  At that time, your dentist will review treatment plans for every patient and he/she will evaluate priority to the best of their ability.  Given that we have been unable to see patients for an extended period of time, we realize that there will be a backlog of needed services.  Treatment priority will be: 

Level 1:

  • Dental infection and / or abscesses
  • Patients in acute pain
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Traumatic injury

Level 2:

Patients who are waiting for various prosthetics (crowns and bridgework - especially those patients in temporary crowns, dentures/partial dentures, and removable appliances)

Symptomatic restorative treatment, and treatment plans for which we are concerned that the delay of treatment will create a significant deterioration in their present condition   

Level 3:

Asymptomatic restorative treatment plans and those patients for whom we consider their condition to be more stable and less likely to deteriorate 

For dental hygiene appointments, patients will be rescheduled chronologically.

 

We appreciate that we were in a situation where we had a backlog of services prior to Covid-19.  Our entire dental team is expecting, willing, and ready to extend office hours to help alleviate this backlog when we return.  We had previously announced our renovation to treat patients in a more timely manner.  While delayed, that plan is still in place and we will eventually complete that vision!  We will now phase the renovation with a more reasonable timeline. 

We have received many calls from patients asking why the clinic remains closed.  Our College of Dental Surgeons of BC provides the dental community with regular updates regarding new information about COVID-19 pertaining to dentistry.  The immediate concern is that scientific data is not yet conclusive on how we should respond.  Here are the reasons why we can not provide dental services:

First, COVID-19 remains contagious for several days depending on the surface.  Our protocol to prevent the spread of other contagions may need to change for COVID-19.  As we gain that knowledge, we will implement the necessary changes to ensure the safety for our patients and team members. 

Second, we are under-equipped with appropriate supplies.  We do not have Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is required to treat COVID-19 patients.  The immediate needs of our community takes priority over the needs of the dental profession for this equipment.  Healthcare workers directly dealing with COVID-19 patients are compromised and reports out of Europe indicate that approximately 10% of COVID-19 patients are healthcare workers.  In the interim, all supplies are diverted to hospitals.  Once there is a plateau of new cases, we may get an opportunity to purchase supplies, but until that time, we will wait patiently.  

Third, the proportion of community transmission continues to increase.  Whereas people returning from travel were the majority of new COVID-19 patients, that data has now reversed.  Community spread has continued to increase on Vancouver Island.  That trend changes our focus as it indicates that containment has not worked as well as we had hoped.  We cannot be complacent in our resolve for social distancing and staying home.  It is critical and it must be absolute.

Fourth, there are reports that more and more COVID-19 patients are asymptomatic.  Until such a time that testing is done on a greater scale, we must now assume that all patients are potential carriers of the virus.  That means that the same protocol must be followed for all patients, not just those patients with symptoms.  None of our dental team members have COVID-19.  We anticipate that everyone working in healthcare may eventually need testing prior to their return.  That process and timeline is unknown.         

 

Community Service Announcements 

In addition to COVID-19, there is also a wonderful message from Dr. David Forrest that is going viral!  Dr. Forrest is an infectious disease specialist and critical care physician at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.  In the video, in addition to preventive measures, he explains the urgency as it is relevant to our community and our hospital.  You can find his message on Facebook or here.  Please attempt to watch his video. 

We received an email from Dr. Rudston-Brown, Chief of Staff at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.  NRGH is now the focus of our community’s greatest need.  Further to my previous comments regarding Personal Protective Equipment, they are asking for a coordinated effort of collecting supplies through Beccy Robson, Project Manager, Nanaimo Division of Family Practice.  They are looking for N-95 masks, surgical masks, procedure masks with shields, goggles, gloves, and disposable gowns.  We have donated our supplies, and while we are now close to being depleted, I am confident that when our clinic reopens, we have more than enough time to restock our supplies.  We owe much to the healthcare professionals who risk their lives for our community.  If you have these supplies, please contact her directly by email with “Community PPE” in the subject heading: brobson@divisionsbc.ca.            

While most dental clinics are closed, our friend, and colleague, Dr. John McGaw at Driftwood Dental in Courtenay, is open for select patient care.  Dr. McGaw is a dentist and an Advanced Cardiac Life Support Instructor and Clinical Instructor in IV Sedation.  There are a few clinics in the province that currently have the training and PPE to provide dental services, and he can.  Should there be an unique situation that may require his services, please contact your dentist for a pre-screening referral to Dr. McGaw.  We ask that you do not contact him directly.  This service is restricted for healthy patients with urgent care or life-threatening emergencies.  Confirmed COVID-19 patients will not be treated at this time.

 

Dr. Anthony Ciammaichella (250) 739-2344

Drs. Sean or Aileen Saunders (250) 616-2660

Dr. Ivan Zolotco (250) 816-0711

Dr. Brian Lee (604) 727-4683

 

On behalf of everyone at the Lantzville Dental Clinic, we are thankful to be part of the Central Island community, and we count our blessings!  Please stay positive, diligent, and calm.  We have witnessed a unified response during our time of greatest need.  For that, we should all be proud!   

 

Sincerely, 

Lantzville Dental Clinic

 

Dr. Anthony Ciammaichella, Owner, CEO

Dr. Sean Saunders, Owner

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UPDATE: March 18, 2020

Announcement Regarding Lantzville Dental Clinic and COVID-19

We are experiencing unprecedented uncertainty due to COVID-19.  These past several days have been a journey that we have never experienced before, neither personally, nor professionally.  We are sending this letter to explain how COVID-19 affects our patient care and how we will be coping with office procedures to help those patients in times of need.  As always, our primary concern is the safety and care of our Lantzville Dental family, and that includes our patients and our dental team members.  In the words of our Prime Minister, “exceptional circumstances are calling for exceptional measures, and it is time to take every precaution to keep people safe.”

We are monitoring and following the recommendations from our Public Health Officer, Dr. Henry, and the recommendations specifically for dentists from our licensing body, the College of Dental Surgeons of BC (CDSBC).  We will continue to follow CDSBC Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines which defines the responsibilities of dental healthcare providers to protect the safety of their patients and themselves.  We will also monitor COVID-19 updates on a daily basis.  Our provincial situation may change suddenly, and we will abide by those changes, including changes to mandatory social distancing.

In response to the escalation of COVID-19, on March 16, 2020, the CDSBC sent a statement that strongly recommends that all elective and non-essential dental services be suspended immediately”.  Since that announcement, we have been contacting patients to reschedule all upcoming appointments in March.  We will continue to do so for subsequent appointments in April as we receive further updates from our Public Health Officer and the CDSBC.

Should you experience a dental emergency, please contact the dentist that you normally see directly:

Dr. Anthony Ciammaichella (250) 739-2344

Drs. Sean or Aileen Saunders (250) 616-2660

Dr. Ivan Zolotco (250) 816-0711

Dr. Brian Lee (604) 727-4683

Before we treat patients, we will perform a pre-treatment risk assessment.  If risks are identified that cannot be immediately or sufficiently mitigated, we may postpone treatment or refer the patient to an appropriate provider.

If you would like more information on COVID-19, please visit our BC Government website, (BC Centre of Disease Control) at www.bccdc.ca or call 811 or for non-medical information, call 1-888-COVID19.

COVID-19 is unlike anything we have ever experienced.  It too shall pass.  We would like to acknowledge the professionalism, commitment, and care of our entire dental team.  We are truly fortunate and proud to have you on our side as we face the Covid-19 challenge together.  Thank you!

Finally, as Dr. Henry stated, “Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe”.  We look forward to a return to normal times.  Best wishes to all.

 

Sincerely,

 

Lantzville Dental Clinic

Dr. Anthony Ciammaichella, Owner, CEO

Dr. Sean Saunders, Owner