**COVID-19 HEALTH MANDATE**Issued: March 19, 2020
By: Governor Mike Dunleavy
Commissioner Adam Crum, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
Dr. Anne Zink, Chief Medical Officer, State of Alaska
To prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the State of Alaska is issuing its sixth health mandate based on the authority under the Public Health Disaster Emergency Declaration signed by Governor Mike Dunleavy on March 11, 2020.
The State of Alaska and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) acknowledge the proactive efforts of Alaska’s oral health providers and practitioners to protect the health and safety of patients and the state in response to COVID-19.
Mandate 6.1 – Elective Oral Health Procedures
Dental clinical settings and oral health professionals are recognized within the highest risk categories for both transmission and contraction of the coronavirus, as most dental procedures release significant aerosols in the operatory atmosphere. Therefore, in concurrence with recommendations from the American Dental Association (ADA), the Alaska Dental Society, and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, elective oral health care procedures are required to be postponed for a period of one month.
Alaska oral health professionals should be aware:
- There is a growing shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) in health care facilities as response to COVID-19 continues. Please closely monitor supplies of PPE.
- There is a high risk of disease in individuals over 60 years of age and individuals with underlying or chronic health conditions.
- Postpone all elective and non-essential dental procedures.
- Prioritize treatment for patients experiencing dental emergencies, here defined by the ADA as ‘Health care related to relief of severe dental/oral pain and infection management’.
- To help decrease the overburden of emergency rooms and urgent care facilities as COVID-19 response rapidly increases, oral health practitioners are encouraged to provide emergency dental care through patients’ regular dental home, including after-hours where possible, except in the case of a life-threatening emergency.
- Limit orders and use of PPE to the minimum necessary for emergency care.
Resources for practitioners:
- CDC COVID-19 page for Healthcare Professionals: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/
- ADA Coronavirus Resource Center for Dentists: https://success.ada.org/en/practice-management/patients/infectious-diseases-2019-novel-coronavirus
- Alaska Dental Society: www.akdental.org
- OSAP Coronavirus Tool Kit: www.osap.org/COVID-19
- National Network for Oral Health Access COVID-19 page: www.nnoha.org/covid-19-coronavirus/covid-19-coronavirus-resources/