Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for our Senior Dental Patients

Updated March 27, 2020
What can I do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Stay informed with your local and state regulations regarding further restrictions.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and California Department of Public Health

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Typically, human coronaviruses cause mild-to-moderate respiratory illness. Symptoms are very similar to the flu, including:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

In some cases, COVID-19 can cause more severe respiratory illness.

Source: California Department of Public Health

What if I have symptoms?

If a person develops symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, cough or shortness of breath, and has reason to believe they may have been exposed, they should call their health care provider or local health department before seeking care. Contacting them in advance will make sure that people can get the care they need without putting others at risk. Please be sure to tell your health care provider about your travel history. You can also take the following precautionary measures: avoid contact with sick individuals, wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, and get a flu shot.

Source: California Department of Public Health

What is the impact of COVID-19 on Older Adults?

The CDC has identified older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung, or kidney disease at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness. According to the CDC, early data suggest older people are twice as likely to have serious COVID-19 illness.

This is likely because as people age, their immune systems change, making it harder for their body to fight off diseases and infection, and because many older adults are also more likely to have underlying health conditions that make it harder to cope with and recover from illness. Age increases the risk that the respiratory system or lungs will shut down when an older person has COVID-19 disease.

That’s why the CDC is recommending that people at higher risk take the following actions:

  • CALIFORNIA UPDATE: As of 03/16/2020 and by the California Governor’s ordinance those that are 65 years and older or vulnerable to COVID-19 must practice home isolation.
  • Make sure you have access to several weeks of medications, food, and supplies in case you need to stay home for prolonged periods of time.
  • If you must go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact, and wash your hands often.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • Stay up to date on CDC Travel Health Notices. Source: National Council on Aging

What is the Senior Dental Center doing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

CLINIC UPDATE: The Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center clinical services are currently closed as of March 16, 2020 and will reopen when it is safe to do so.

The Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center is continually monitoring information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and federal, state and local agencies to help ensure the actions we're taking are in line with the latest CDC recommendations and guidance. We are communicating regularly with our employees and patients to keep them informed and to ensure everyone’s safety.

  • We continue practicing our standard infection control protocol for any infectious disease and we are taking additional precautionary measures as recommended by the California Department of Public Health.
  • Our personnel are all correctly trained and capable of implementing infection control procedures and always adhere to infection control requirements for ALL patients at ALL times regardless of potential health status.
  • We have been providing timely updates to all personnel informing them of any new protocols and other pertinent information, including requiring sick employees to stay home and inform their supervisor of any potential health changes related to COVID-19; emphasizing respiratory etiquette and cough and hand hygiene by all employees and performing routine environmental cleaning.
  • As per the County of San Diego Public Health Department instructions, we will immediately report any suspected cases of COVID‐19 to the San Diego County Epidemiology Unit. Anyone in the vicinity of a confirmed case will be requested to seek an assessment from their health care provider.
  • In order to ensure clear and consistent communication, the Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center has posters and handouts for preventing the spread of disease regarding COVID-19