Practice owners are now encouraged to analyze brief interactions between employees, infected colleagues, or patients that may have occurred several times a day.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines on close contact. Dental practice owners are encouraged to apply the following new guidance to their contact tracing protocols and update their Injury and Illness prevention plan:
“Practice owners should revise their COVID-19 contact tracing protocols to reflect the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new guidelines on what it means to have been in close contact with an infected person.
The CDC previously defined close contact as someone who spent at least 15 consecutive minutes within 6 feet of an infected person.
In its October 21 guidance, the agency redefines close contact as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset until the time the patient isolated.
Under this new guidance, employers are encouraged to update the COVID-19 Addendum in their Injury and Illness Prevention Plan and apply the new guidance to their contact tracing and assessments. This could mean analyzing brief interactions between employees and infected colleagues or patients that may have occurred several times a day, instead of one or two prolonged exposures.”
The California Dental Association’s employee tracking form is available to provide additional information. It provides detailed guidance on how to properly report a COVID-19 positive employee and thoroughly trace who they’ve been in contact with prior to their symptoms or diagnosis.