June 4, 2021
by Elaine Powell, Director, Regulatory Compliance, dentalcorp; Jaime Robertson, Manager, Regulatory Compliance, dentalcorp
A year-and-a-half into this ever-evolving pandemic and we find ourselves in the grip of a third wave. The pandemic has caused a significant change in all of our lives. The only constant we’ve had is the constant of the unknown. The virus has proved to be relentless and efforts to contain the spread require a consistent effort to follow regulatory and public health guidelines.
At the peak of Canada’s third wave, the daily average case loads of COVID-19 reached an all-time high of around 8700 cases, compared to roughly 2500 cases a day at the peak of the first wave. Another key differentiator between the initial and current wave is in the demographic of the infected. To date, the age group in Canada with the most infections is 20-29, a stark contrast from the early days of the pandemic when the elderly were considered the most susceptible to severe illness from the virus. The key culprit for this wave’s record surges in case numbers are variants of concern (VOC), highly infectious versions of the virus that are less responsive to existing treatments and prone to inflicting more severe illness. Fortunately, many of our most vulnerable have been vaccinated and that’s keeping this demographic’s death rates below what we saw in the previous two waves.
Despite the virus raging on, many are experiencing what is known as pandemic fatigue – a burnout and subsequent relaxing of safety precautions. Unfortunately, the normalization of non-compliant behaviour can have serious consequences, and we are seeing the impacts of this trend in dentistry. Outbreaks in dental practices have occurred (lunchrooms being the most recognized culprit), resulting in practices being required to shut down for several weeks. Unfortunately, the ramifications of an outbreak in the practice go beyond the illness and exposure, resulting in lost business and reduced patient confidence in practice safety precautions.
While we have all understandably grown weary of this pandemic and the toll it has taken on our emotional health, now is not the time to let our guards down. We must remain vigilant until Canada’s vaccination effort dismantles variants of concern.
The following tips can aid you in staying vigilant through this third—and hopefully final—wave.
About the Authors
Elaine and Jaime are registered dental hygienists who work closely together on dentalcorp’s Compliance team. Together they bring experience in clinical, regulatory, and educational capacities. They are passionate about infection prevention control and assisting practices in providing safe and effective patient care. They have guided and supported over 400 practices through the Covid-19 processes required across Canada.