Do we still need to screen patients?
We still need to screen patients. The reason is that, so long as we work on screened patients who aren’t likely to have COVID, we aren’t under the Emergency OSHA standard, which is a big deal. So continue to screen…ask patients if they’ve been exposed to anyone with COVID, do they have symptoms, have they been tested in the past week, etc. If someone has symptoms of possible COVID, I would take a temp as well, and if they have a fever, don’t work on them.
There are some changes to the guidelines. One of the most important changes is governed by common sense. Basically, if there are high rates of transmission in the community, we need to take extra precautions. Since the CDC doesn’t track COVID rates, pay attention to indicators like news stories about higher transmission rates, or the fact that your schedule is falling apart because people have COVID, or you hear around town that a lot of people are getting COVID again.
When the rates are not high, use standard precautions. If the rates are high, consider additional precautions, such as respirator level masks, maybe hand scale instead of using ultrasonic scalers and prophyjets, etc.
Here are the newest guidelines if you want to check them out.