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Non-essential medical and dental procedures to be postponed, says Gov. Whitmer

dentist stock photo
Courtesy of the Michigan Dental Association

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order to postpone all non-essential medical and dental procedures until the COVID-19 state of emergency has ended.

Whitmer said in a statement that she hopes this executive order alleviates the strain on Michigan’s healthcare system.

Here is more from Whitmer:

“My number one priority remains to flatten the curve and protect the most people we can from the spread of coronavirus. Our health care workers are on the front lines every day protecting Michiganders during these extraordinary and difficult times. By postponing all non-essential medical and dental procedures, we expect to reduce the strain on the health care system and protect people. My administration will continue to do everything we can to mitigate the spread of the disease and ensure our children, families, and businesses have the support they need during these challenging times.”

Dr. Margaret Gingrich, the President of the Michigan Dental Association, says the association agrees with Whitmer’s steps.

“So this is a way that we can shut down our offices and section out the treatment that needs to be done, and treatment that needs to be postponed,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich says dental offices across the state have had trouble getting personal protective gear.

“We want our workers and all of our patients protected to the best of their capability, so we don’t want to put anyone in harm’s way,” she said.

Gingrich says procedures that fix major issues will still happen. She says that includes any procedure to stop excessive bleeding in the mouth or broken jaw bones.

More from the MDA:

This drastic measure is necessary because of the nature of the virus and because it can be transmitted from carriers showing no symptoms. In addition, there is a shortage of appropriate personal protective equipment. If the dental profession can conserve what it does have, it will help Michigan’s health system if the number of cases requiring treatment for COVID-19 increases. For individuals with care that must be completed and those experiencing a dental emergency, it is important that precautions be taken to limit risk to the patient and the dental team. The dentist members of the MDA and its parent organization, the American Dental Association, follow infectious disease precautions every day, including sterilizing handpieces and other intraoral instruments between patients. This virus is spread between individuals in close contact and through inhalation of infected fluids. The MDA and the American Dental Association urge all dentists to implement the extra measures outlined at the ADA Coronavirus Resource Center, in addition to standard protocols. Anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19 or are symptomatic – whether patients, dental team members, or members of the general public – should contact their primary physician or public health department as soon as possible to ask about being seen or tested.

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