Expansion of Dental Care in Phase 2 of BC's Restart Plan
Posted May 16, 2020
As Premier Horgan has announced, next week is the start of the transition into Phase 2 of the government’s COVID-19 response as set out in BC’s Restart Plan.
The College is pleased to provide you with a series of guidance documents related to the safe resumption of in-person and non-essential healthcare. All registrants are to read and follow the guidance and expectations set out within these documents as you begin to resume providing non-essential dental technology services in the weeks and months ahead.
Based on the message from the Provincial Health Officer, in the letter referenced below, the College expects that starting on May 19th, 2020, registrants will only provide “non-essential” or routine dental technology services if all the standards and guidelines in the following documents can be met.
Please note that there are direct links contained within each of the following documents to information that is critical for registrants to access and consider as they plan to return to work.
Letter from the Provincial Health Officer Regarding Return to Non-Essential Care (May 15, 2020)
Dr. Henry has provided a letter to health care professionals regarding a resumption of the provision of non-essential health care services. The letter highlights the accountability of health professionals to ensure the health and safety of patients, clients, colleagues, and staff in every healthcare setting. This letter also contains links to supporting guidelines from the BCCDC and WorkSafe BC.
The link to Dr. Henry’s letter is here: PHO Letter to Health Professionals – May 15, 2020
BC Health Regulators Guidance for Community Health Care Services
This document provides general guidance for health care professionals who provide care in a community setting. This document was a collaborative effort on the part of all BC Health Regulators. This document also contains links to general guidelines from the BCCDC, PICNet (BC’s Provincial Infection Control Network), and WorkSafe BC.
Access this document here: BC Health Regulators Guidance
Transitioning Oral Healthcare to Phase 2 of the COVID-19 Response Plan
This document was developed collaboratively by the College of Dental Technicians of BC, the College of Denturists of BC, the College of Dental Hygienists of BC, and the College of Dental Surgeons of BC, and is applicable to registrants of all four Colleges.
Access this document here: Guidance on Transitioning Oral Healthcare
It provides oral health care specific information regarding a resumption of the provision of non-essential care. It should be noted that this document is based on the most current information and evidence available, however this will be a living document. As further information and evidence becomes available this document will be updated as appropriate and registrants will be informed of the changes.
Please note that the ability to resume the provision of non-essential care on May 19th, 2020 does not mean that there is an expectation that you “must” return to practice. Each practice, and each professional within that practice, will have to consider all the information provided as well as their own circumstances to determine when and how care can be provided in a manner that will keep clients, themselves and all those within the practice setting safe.
Some registrants may decide that a return to the provision of non-essential care on May 19th is not prudent or desirable for a multitude of reasons. A slow, thoughtful, and measured approach should be taken as we enter Phase 2 of the Province’s Restart Plan and consider how to best provide non-essential care to the public.
Additional Workplace / Employer Resources
Additional specific information, guidance, and expectations for all workplaces on “returning to safe operations” have been published by WorkSafe BC. Laboratory owners and managers should refer to these documents and other reference materials and aids from WorkSafe BC as they consider how to best return to providing dental technology services based on their individual situation.
The links to some of the WorkSafe BC webpages containing this information can be accessed here:
The College understands that the past number of months have been very challenging, and the path forward is still somewhat uncertain. The College will continue to be diligent in its mandate to protect the public and will closely monitor the situation as we carefully carve a path to a ‘new normal’. Should information or the situation change we will provide additional communications as soon as possible.
In the words of Dr. Henry, we encourage everyone to continue to be kind and to be safe.
BC's Restart Plan and Oral Health Care
Posted May 7, 2020
On May 6, 2020, you may have heard the Premier announce the Province’s “Restart Plan” regarding establishing the "new normal". The plan includes four phases for the re-opening of the Province. We are currently in phase 1, and Phase 2 is expected to begin in mid-May.
“Dentistry” is included in phase 2 of the plan. The plan emphasizes caution and a slow return to the activities in each phase. The Premier’s announcement can be accessed by clicking the following link: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PREM0026-000826
It is essential to note that we are not in phase 2 yet and the College is still recommending refraining from providing in-person and non-essential dental technology services. The Provincial Health Officer underlined that this is simply an announcement of a plan, not an immediate change to what we have been doing. If the curve continues to flatten and decline, then we will be in a position to proceed to phase 2 in the middle of May.
That being said, the College understands that registrants are thinking about a return to the provision of dental technology services for their clients and patients. We also understand that you may have questions or concerns regarding how to do that safely and are looking to the regulators for information.
In the coming days and weeks, you can expect to receive more information on this return to work from the College. The BC Health Regulators are working collaboratively to offer general guidance for the delivery of community health services, which includes dental laboratory services. In addition, the four oral health regulators are also working collaboratively to offer guidance related to a slow return to the provision of in-person and non-essential care.
We are working diligently on getting that information to you in a timely manner while at the same time ensuring the content is well thought out and carefully considered.
While awaiting this material, you may wish to review the College’s infection control guidelines and recommendations found on the Publications pages of our website. In particular, the “Infection Control” and “Patient Contact” documents are specific to dental technology practice in a commercial dental laboratory. https://www.cdtbc.ca/publications.html
You may also find additional useful information in the Infection Prevention and Control document jointly developed by the College of Dental Surgeons and the College of Dental Hygienists of BC. A link to that document is here: https://www.cdhbc.com/Documents/Infection-Prevention.aspx
It is important to note that throughout the pandemic, BC has taken a different approach than other provinces, both generally and more specifically in oral health care delivery. Unlike other provinces, the BC Colleges have recommended refraining from the provision of in-person and non-essential care. The provision of urgent and emergent care has been permitted throughout the pandemic provided proper guidelines are followed. In addition, the College has encouraged registrants to be available to their clients virtually, as needed and as appropriate. Caution must be used when considering "return to care" plans and guidelines from other provinces as their environment and situations may differ from ours.
It is also vital to understand that information from the Colleges in BC will be principle-based recommendations and guidelines, instead of a prescriptive, one-size-fits-all approach. As always, professional judgement and expertise will need to be applied to ensure that care is provided in a manner that is safe for both the patient and the professional. The manner and level of delivery of any care must be given careful consideration. Even when these recommendations and guidelines are published, each registrant will need to consider a number of factors to determine whether the time is right to return to the delivery of in-person non-essential care. The College will be here to provide support as much as possible regarding those decisions.
These have been challenging times for everyone. We are in this together and will continue to navigate these unprecedented times as best as we can. As we contemplate what the ‘new normal’ may look like, one thing that will not change is our unwavering commitment to fulfill our mandate of public protection.
Posted April 30, 2020
On March 23, 2020, Dr. Bonnie Henry, the Provincial Health Officer issued an update addressed to all regulated health professionals in BC. (Click here to view)
In that letter, health professionals were asked to limit delivery of in-person services in community settings and this message remains current, despite the recent discussion of lifting some of these measures in the near future. To be clear, the message from the Provincial Health Office continues to be that “all non-essential and elective services involving direct physical contact with patients and clients should be reduced to minimal levels, subject to allowable exceptions, until further notice.” Regulated health professionals are encouraged to provide services via telehealth where possible.
Specific timelines of when different aspects of non-urgent and in-person care can resume remain unknown. This direction will be provided by the Provincial Health Officer at the appropriate time. In the meantime, stay the course, limit in-person services to patients/clients who require urgent services that cannot be delivered via telehealth, and continue to consult the College website for up to date information.
Federal COVID-19 Benefits Program Portal Opens
Posted April 6, 2020
Today, April 6, 2020, the government of Canada began accepting applications for its Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
Further information about applying for this benefit and links to other benefits, business supports, and general COVID-19 information can be found on the Dental Technicians Association of BC website through the following link: DTABC Website
You can also contact the DTABC office directly during regular business hours at 604-789-4077.
Urgent Update: Dr. Henry's Letter to all Health Professionals
Posted March 25, 2020
To all CDTBC Registrants:
Dr. Bonnie Henry, the Provincial Health Officer has issued a letter to all health professionals regulated under the Health Professions Act regarding the provision of health care in community settings outside the hospital and public health facilities. Please take the time to read this very important letter. The link to the letter can be found here: Letter from Dr. Henry – March 23, 2020
The College of Dental Technicians expects all registrants to comply with Dr. Henry’s direction to immediately suspend all non-essential [dental technology] services until further notice. Dr. Henry's letter should provide additional clarity regarding the exception from this directive for the provision of emergency and urgent care.
The College of Dental Surgeons of BC has provided communication to its registrants as well regarding the provision of care during this time, and I encourage our registrants to be familiar with that information. The most current information from CDSBC can be found by clicking here.
The College of Dental Surgeons has provided the following definition and guidance to their registrants, and it is the position of this College that these definitions apply to dental technology services as well.
NON-ESSENTIAL (ELECTIVE) CARE
Non-essential care is routine or non-urgent procedures and would include (but not limited to):
CDTBC also recommends that dental laboratories be available to their clients (dentists) that may need to request emergency dental technology services to treat a patient’s urgent situation as defined by the College of Dental Surgeons of BC.
Should an emergency situation arise, we recommend fully assessing your ability to provide the requested services in a safe and ethical manner that will minimize the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus for the patient, yourself, and/ or your staff. Complete adherence to the College’s Infection Control Guidelines when providing dental technology services is expected at all times, and this is especially important during this pandemic outbreak. When providing dental technology services, social distancing must be observed between yourself, your staff members, and others in the dental team.
As you have likely heard through news reports, COVID-19 has significantly affected the dental community. There have been a number of positive tests among dental professionals with some developing severe symptoms. You may have also heard that a dentist has sadly passed away from complications associated with COVID-19. Our thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.
There is no question that it is more important than ever that all dental professionals heed the advice and recommendations of both Dr. Henry and their regulatory body. If we each do what is necessary, we will make a difference. A difference that will save lives.
This is a rapidly changing situation, so we ask that all registrants make a regular habit of checking the CDTBC website for the most up to date information, as this is where updates will be posted as they become available.
I thank you for your attention to our communications and your continued professionalism in these extraordinary times. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at the College. While the College office remains closed, staff will be working remotely to respond to this unprecedented situation to the best of our ability. Please email us or leave us a phone message if you have a question and someone will get in touch with you as soon as possible. Please note that it may take a day or two to hear from us as we will be responding to the most urgent matters first.
Ronald Revell, RDT
Registrar / CEO
Urgent Message about COVID-19
Posted on March 16, 2020
Attendees of 2020 Pacific Dental Conference asked to self-isolate
To all registrants of the College of Dental Technicians of BC (CDTBC):
In the words of our Prime Minister today, exceptional circumstances are calling for exceptional measures, and it is time to take every precaution to keep people safe.
In alignment with today’s direction from the Office of the Provincial Health Officer, the College is providing the following information and recommendations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Below is a link to the joint statement from the Minister of Health and BC’s Provincial Health Officer:
They note that a significant number of new cases of COVID-19 are related to the Pacific Dental Conference held on March 5, 6, and 7, 2020.
CDTBC supports the Ministry’s direction that anyone who attended the 2020 Pacific Dental Conference must immediately self-isolate until March 22, 2020.
Registrants should consider their own safety, the health and safety of their staff, and the recommendations of the Provincial Health Authority and BC Centre for Disease Control in determining what measures to take to reduce the potential transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Limiting close contact with others and ensuring that all registrants are following the College's Infection Control Guidelines and using Personal Protective Equipment when providing dental technology services is particularly critical at this time.
The Ministry has also issued a new order prohibiting all public gatherings of more than 50 people.
These measures are in place until further notice and CDTBC will be monitoring the situation closely and updating our website with information as it becomes available, knowing that this situation is rapidly changing.
CDTBC is also changing our business practices in response to this emerging situation.
As a result of the new direction from the Ministry, staff will not be working in the office for at least the next two weeks, and all in-person meetings and activities of the College are suspended until further notice.
Some staff will have limited access to email and voice messages during this period and will respond to urgent calls and emails as quickly as possible.
Access to the office is restricted and no walk-in visitors will be received.
Please be patient as all the staff of the College attended the Pacific Dental Conference and we are being asked to self-isolate for the next two weeks.
To view the provincial health officer's order on mass gatherings, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics
For more information on B.C.’s updated testing strategy and self-isolation, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/testing-isolation
For recommendations on protecting yourself and your community, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/coronavirus-(novel)
For the COVID-19 pandemic preparedness and planning materials, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics/pandemic-influenza.
For more information and latest updates on COVID-19, follow the BC Centre for Disease Control on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit the centre’s website: http://www.bccdc.ca/
For the latest audio clips of COVID-19 media availabilities, visit: https://soundcloud.com/bcgov
Notification for Attendees of Pacific Dental Conference 2020
Posted on March 12, 2020
Vancouver Coastal Health and the Pacific Dental Conference have confirmed that an attendee who visited the Exhibit Hall at the PDC in the afternoon of March 6th has tested positive for COVID-19.
A link to the Vancouver Coastal Health Media Release can be found below.
Registrants are reminded that they are required at all times to comply with the infection control guidelines established by the Board. Those guidelines and policies are published on our website and can be accessed through the following links:
For further information about COVID-19 please refer to the BC Centre for Disease Control.