Introduction: Dental settings have been considered high risk settings for COVID-19. A Dental Public Health Team in South East Scotland have worked to risk assess the situation timeously to break chains of transmission.
Aim: To present routine data produced from a contact tracing service for COVID-19 cases in the dental setting with a focus on transmission.
Design: Observational retrospective analysis of a routine data set of COVID-19 cases associated with a dental setting reported via the national contact tracing system for two health board areas in the east of Scotland.
Methods: COVID-19 cases were confirmed by PCR testing. Descriptive statistics are used to summarise the data collected over a 13-month period (Oct 2020-Dec 2021). A narrative presents themes identified during contact tracing that led to transmission within a dental setting and includes a case study.
Results: A total of 811 incidents are included. No evidence of staff to patient transmission or vice versa was found in this study. Staff to staff transmission occurred in non-clinical areas contributing to 33% of total staff cases.
Conclusion: Transmission of COVID-19 in a dental setting in the context of this study appears to be confined to non-clinical areas. Future pandemic plans should include tools to aid with implementation of guidance in non-clinical areas.
Goldrick, N. & O'Keefe, E. 2022, 'Surveillance of COVID-19 cases associated with dental settings using routine health data from the East of Scotland with a description of efforts to break chains of transmission from October 2020 to December 2021'Available at: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.03.11.22272263