CDC updates (Sept 18 & 21, 2020) on Covid-19 spread & SARS-CoV-2 testing: Relevant to dentists
Two updates (Sept 18 & 21, 2020) by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) on Covid-19 guidelines, which are relevant to dental practice.
- CDC guidelines on “How COVID-19 Spreads” (Update Sept. 21, 2020)COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person. Some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus. We are still learning about how the virus spreads and the severity of illness it causes.
Person-to-person spread : The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
The virus spreads easily between people
How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious, like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, which means it goes from person-to-person without stopping.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading very easily and sustainably between people. Information from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic suggests that this virus is spreading more efficiently than influenza, but not as efficiently as measles, which is highly contagious. In general, the more closely a person interacts with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.
The virus may be spread in other ways
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about how this virus spreads.
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- Stay at least 6 feet away from others, whenever possible. This is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
- Pandemics can be stressful. During times of increased physical distancing, it is still important to maintain social connections and care for your mental health.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others. Masks should not replace other prevention measures.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Stay home and isolate from others when sick.
- Use air purifiers to help reduce airborne germs in indoor spaces.
- Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
2. CDC guidelines on Overview of Testing for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) (Update Sept. 18, 2020)
Due to the significance of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, this guidance further reinforces the need to test asymptomatic persons, including close contacts of a person with documented SARS-CoV-2 infection.
- If you have been in close contact, such as within 6 feet of a person with documented SARS-CoV-2 infection for at least 15 minutes and do not have symptoms.
- You need a test. Please consult with your healthcare provider or public health official. Testing is recommended for all close contacts of persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Because of the potential for asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, it is important that contacts of individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection be quickly identified and tested. Pending test results, you should self-quarantine/isolate at home and stay separated from household members to the extent possible and use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if available.
- A single negative test does not mean you will remain negative at any time point after that test.
- Even if you have a negative test, you should still self-isolate for 14 days.
- If you live with a person at increased risk of severe illness (for example an elderly person or other individuals with underlying medical conditions), take special precautions in the home to protect that individual according to CDC guidelines.
- Healthcare providers in close contact of a person with documented SARS-CoV-2 infection while using recommended personal protective equipment, do not need to be tested.