Dental Emergencies and COVID-19

Our daily routines have been interrupted as we all work to practice social distancing, and many businesses that we would regularly frequent are currently closed. These changes have also impacted the health care system. Per state and CDC guidelines, dental services may only be provided for emergencies during the pandemic. This order has led many dental practices to temporarily close their doors, or provide limited hours.

What do you do if you have a toothache during the pandemic, and there isn’t a dentist open in your home town right now?

Here is one patient’s story, as told by Jessica, Dental Support Supervisor at CHAS Denny Murphy Clinic, located in downtown Spokane:

“We had a dental patient come in all the way from Ritzville because their one dentist who travels from Ellensburg was not seeing patients. He was in a lot of pain: unable to sleep, unable to control the pain with over-the-counter drugs, unable to eat. He was pretty hesitant to have treatment done by someone else, but was in so much pain he said if he did not get this tooth out of his head, he was going to take some pliers to it and get it out himself!

To make matters worse, his appointment was scheduled for the following week, not that day. Because we knew he traveled all the way from Ritzville, our dental team was able to pull together and make it work, despite a full schedule.

The patient was so grateful by the end of the visit, he thanked all of the staff present, saying Dr. Orth was the best dentist ever and he just might continue to travel for all his dental care because he liked her so much!”

CHAS Health clinicians are honored to be able to serve everyone in need during this challenging time.  If you need emergency dental services, please call us at 509-444-8200.

This blog post is part of a special CHAS Health Foundation series for #GivingTuesdayNow. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  #GivingTuesdayNow emphasizes opportunities to give back to communities and causes in safe ways that allow for social connection and kindness even while practicing physical distancing. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide.

This mission of the CHAS Health Foundation is to create health equity by strategically investing in patients, partners, and communities. The CHAS Health Foundation supports CHAS Health, a non-profit community health center serving over 97,000 patients annually regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. You can donate to the CHAS Health Foundation at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CHAS

#GIVINGTUESDAYNOW | May 5th

#GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  #GivingTuesdayNow is an opportunity for people around the world to stand together in unity–to use their individual power of generosity to remain connected and heal.  Generosity gives everyone the power to make a positive change in the lives of others and is a fundamental value anyone can embrace. #GivingTuesdayNow emphasizes opportunities to give back to communities and causes in safe ways that allow for social connection and kindness even while practicing physical distancing.

Join CHAS Health for the next two weeks as we share stories from our staff and patients about working on the COVID-19 front lines. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, share our stories with friends, or if you can, participate in the giving to help us continue to serve patients during these trying times. You can donate to the CHAS Health Foundation at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CHAS

CHAS Health Announces New Foundation; Prioritizes Funding for Patients Impacted by COVID-19

Spokane, WA, April 13, 2020 – Last year, CHAS Health took the initial steps to start a Foundation, with the intent of creating a funding vehicle to address patient and community health equity. The Foundation Board recently formed and recognizes the urgent need for a fundraising campaign to help economically challenged patients facing extraordinary difficulties during the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We know people in our community are being impacted by lay-offs and lost wages right now. This leads to loss of health insurance, difficulty affording prescriptions, and other social determinants of health. We want to use the new Foundation to start providing patient assistance immediately,” stated Lindsey Ruivivar, Foundation spokesperson.

CHAS Health is actively involved in the community response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is quickly adapting operations to meet the needs of patients. Like other health care providers across the nation, CHAS Health is experiencing a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), including surgical and N95 masks. The organization has temporarily ceased dental operations except for emergencies, in accordance with CDC guidelines and to conserve personal protective equipment. To limit the number of patients and staff in clinics and to help stop the spread of the virus, most patient appointments have been converted to telehealth visits when appropriate.

To-date, CHAS Health has screened 5,546 individuals for COVID-19, and tested 947 individuals; 31 tests have come back positive, and more results are pending. Five CHAS Health clinics have tents to screen patients for upper respiratory symptoms, while minimizing exposure risks for patients and staff.

“The pandemic has necessitated switching a lot of our operations to virtual care, which has proven to be effective both for medical and behavioral health services,” states Aaron Wilson, CHAS Health CEO. “We are focused on providing continuity of care for our patients, regardless of their circumstances.”

The Foundation has begun to receive seed funding, including financial donations from CHAS Health employees who are working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite operation and equipment challenges, the organization remains optimistic.

“We are excited to move the Foundation forward, and to use this as an opportunity for the community to partner with us to help patients get through the pandemic,” says Ruivivar. “We have been humbled by the tangible donations that have begun to pour in, from people dropping off masks, to businesses donating coffee and lunch for our employees who are working long hours right now.”

The Foundation is actively soliciting donations to provide assistance for patients in need. Donations may be made online at www.chas.org/donate or by calling 509-444-8888 and asking to speak with the Foundation.

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This mission of the CHAS Health Foundation is to create health equity by strategically investing in patients, partners, and communities.

The CHAS Health Foundation supports CHAS Health, a non-profit community health center serving over 97,000 patients annually regardless of insurance status or ability to pay.

Proper Sanitation Techniques

Proper and safe sanitation is necessary for health. There are many ways to keep the surfaces and items you utilize on a daily basis sanitized. From cleaning and disinfecting, laundering, and properly washing your hands, maintaining safe sanitation can seem more complicated than it actually is.

While it may seem like a thoughtless task you do, most people do not wash their hands correctly. Washing your hands should be done after the following times;

  • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After using the restroom
  • Before eating or preparing food
  • After contact with animals or pets
  • Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child)

To properly wash your hands, use warm water and soap for 20 seconds. Remember to focus on the back of your hands, your fingernails, and all the way to the wrist to ensure maximum cleanliness. If you cannot wash your hands, you can use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. When using hand sanitizer be sure to follow the 20-second rule as well and rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands. Be sure to avoid touching your faces if your hands are not washed.

Cleaning refers to the removal of germs and dirt, whereas disinfecting refers to using chemicals to kill germs. While cleaning does not kill germs, it lowers the possibility of germs spreading by removing them from surfaces. Surfaces that are frequently touched should be cleaned on a regular basis. These surfaces include tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. To properly clean a surface use warm water and soap.

To correctly disinfect and area you can use a diluted household bleach solution, an alcohol-based solution with at least 70% alcohol, household cleaners, or you can create your own bleach solution. To make your own bleach solution you can mix 5 tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water. When disinfecting, remember to keep the surface wet for several minutes with the disinfectant solution for several minutes to ensure germs are killed. If someone in your household is expected to have a virus or infection, frequently touched surfaces should be disinfected on a daily basis.

For soft surfaces and other items such as clothing, towels, and linens, be sure to launder items as possible. Dirty laundry from a person who is sick can be washed with other items. Be sure to clean and disinfect your hampers as well. For items that cannot be put in the laundry, clean using soap and water or with the appropriate cleaners.

If someone in your house has an illness be sure to use disposable gloves when cleaning and dealing with infected items. Proper sanitation techniques can help prevent illnesses and germs from spreading to you and your loved ones.

by Mike Cardenas, Marketing Specialist

Help us fight Coronavirus

Stuck at home with just your savage sewing skills and want to do your part?

Make face masks from home and help keep our staff safer.

How?

Just follow the instructions contained in this how-to video:

Or this video from Deaconess Hospital

Or any other video you fancy!

What you will need

Fabric

  • CHAS can provide the fabric in the form of Chas Health T-shirts. Contact clbooey@chas.org to pick up shirts. 

Elastic cord. 

  • This can be sourced from Joann Fabric, and potentially other craft stores. 
    • Don’t have random elastic cord lying around? Get creative and try cutting up hair ties, or anything else that can comfortably be worn around the ear and has a little give to it!

Distribution

If you have made a mask and don’t have any particular clinic in mind, please drop them off at the closest site to you and they can be redistributed as needed. 

Just because you’re not on the front lines doesn’t mean you can’t support our community

Purpose

These masks are for use by staff not involved in direct patient care such as front desk and pharmacy. If you are involved in direct patient care, you will use a surgical or other paper, mask. We will also be able to distribute them amongst our communities and patients. 

Other resource:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ppe-strategy/face-masks.html

Casey Linane-Booey, Risk Manager