Being involved in clinical activities did not increase risk of COVID-19, study says

Boston, USA: During the pandemic, most dental professionals had to suspend dental activities to slow the spread of COVID-19. The rationale behind this decision was the dental professional’s belief that he was at high risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2, as aerosols are generated during dental procedures, increasing the risk of infection. However, recent new research suggests that, contrary to popular belief, in clinical care settings, wearing standard personal protective equipment and participating in comprehensive SARS-CoV-2 surveillance testing It has recently been demonstrated that dental professionals are less susceptible to infection when performing clinical activities.

The study was conducted from August 2020 to February 2022 at the Harvard School of Dentistry (HSDM), which provides direct patient care. Staff and students attended regular surveillance tests from once he to three times a week, depending on their risk status. The overall asymptomatic positive test rate was found to be only 0.27%. In addition, the data showed an average test positive rate of 0.25% in those who were involved in patient-facing clinical activities compared to 0.36% in those who were not involved in clinical activities. This suggests that a person working in a nonclinical role infected him with SARS-CoV-2 more often than a person working in a clinical role.

“Involvement in clinical activities did not increase the risk of COVID-19. Individuals involved in clinical activities tested more per week on average, but had lower positive test rates than nonclinical individuals.” , ensuring the safety of both patients and practitioners in the clinical setting,” said lead author Dr. Sung Eun Choi, HSDM instructor of oral health policy and epidemiology.

“We are delighted that Harvard’s comprehensive SARS-CoV-2 surveillance program has kept our communities safe,” said co-author and vice president of campus health and welfare, Harvard. Giang T. Nguyen, Ph.D., Executive Director of University Health Services. “The work done at the dental school during the pandemic showed that the school delivered clinical care in a safe manner, even with the relatively high density of students, staff and faculty on campus,” he said. pointed out.

In light of the findings, the researchers concluded that implementation of adaptive testing cadence based on individual risk status could help effectively reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the academic setting of dental clinical care. suggested that there is a Additionally, they believe his comprehensive COVID-19 testing will allow for timely detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection, reducing the risk of infection within these settings.

HSDM President Dr. William V. Giannobile said:

The study, titled “Evaluating the Outcomes of a Comprehensive COVID-19 Testing Program in the Academic Setting of U.S. Dental Clinical Care,” was published online December 13, 2022. JAMA network open.

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