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Message from the President                                                           November 1, 2020

In response to a concerning rise in COVID-19 positivity, effective Monday, Nov. 2, the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer has Winnipeg Metropolitan Region moving to the Critical level (red) on the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System. The Southern Health–Santé Sud, Prairie Mountain Health and Interlake–Eastern health regions will move to the Restricted level (orange). The Northern health region moved to the Restricted level (orange) on Oct. 26.

As a result, there have been many restrictions put in place targeting those sectors that might be a potential source of spread. According to resources provided from Public Health MB these changes in response level do not affect delivery of care in private practise dental clinics in the province. There may be an effect on dentistry in the Hospital system. As essential Health Care Providers, Dentists and their teams have been providing much needed access to care for Manitobans beginning on May 1st and throughout the pandemic response.

Our Dentist lead teams have been carefully and safely delivering care for Manitobans throughout the pandemic response because of the multitude of measures that we have put in place. Our pathways guidance details many controls that have been successful in keeping Manitobans, our teams, and ourselves healthy. This guidance, including PPE guidance, are consistent with that being done in other provinces.

Because we frequently revisit our office wide protocols to find any potential areas of improvement, Manitobans continue trust their Dentist.

A reminder that careful pre-appointment screening and in person re-screening using the Shared Health Screening Tool is critical. This tool will help in your assessment to identify patients who may pose a larger risk. If your assessment reveals a risk, a brief postponement of patient care may be required. As community spread becomes more prevalent, careful attention to aerosol reduction techniques and PPE use is important. As numbers in our communities increase, our attention to PPE protocols must remain vigilant.  In all circumstances, dentists should exercise reasonable and prudent judgement in assessing risk.

To this point, there have been no known cases in Canada of COVID-19 acquired from patient care in a dental setting. Our biggest challenge, and the challenge that health care providers in other provinces are identifying, is that our team members can acquire the virus in the community, as any member of the public can. Furthermore, there are other illnesses such as influenza that our teams are subject to. Please talk to your teams and carefully assess your own ‘social bubbles.’  On Friday, The Chief Provincial Public Health Officer urged Manitobans to not socialize with people from outside their household, to cut down their number of close contacts and avoid closed-in or crowded spaces.

Careful attention to staff self-monitoring, staff screening, strict PPE use throughout he workplace, and physical distancing protocols in staff only spaces will be critical in preserving our teams. 

Please prepare yourselves - should a case of COVID-19 unknowingly present in a dental office, public heath contact tracing may contact your offices requesting information. Based on the protocols followed for that patient encounter, recommendations will be made. These recommendations are by public health order. Vigilant attention to protocols will be important in avoiding potential disruption to dentists or their teams. 

Please share this e-Alert with your extended teams. It is encouraged to continue communication with our team members related to maintaining these measures while delivering access to care for Manitobans in the calm and careful manner which they have become accustomed to.

Marc Mollot, B.Sc, DMD
President & Chairman of the Board
Manitoba Dental Association


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