April 22, 2020
The NDA along with significant information provided by the ADA has developed interim guidance for minimizing risk of COVID-19 transmission in order to practice during this pandemic and minimize the risk of virus transmission. Additional guidance documents from the NDA and ADA will likely be issued.
The decision to reopen a dental office or remain closed, absent an overriding Directed Health Mandate, is a decision to be made by each individual dental practice. The following Dental Office Opening Protocols were developed to assist dentists in making that decision, as well as to encourage a concerted effort in making the reopening of dental offices the safest environment possible for patients, staff and dentist. The NDA presents the following guidelines not as mandates, but as recommendations to aid dental teams in the reopening of their offices.
April 2, 2020
The recent Directed Health Measure now encompases the entire state of Nebraska.
The key language appears on page 4 of the DHM which the NDA believes applies to dental offices:
Elective surgeries and elective procedures are hereby prohibited. For the purposes of this Order, this means a surgery or procedure that is scheduled in advance because it does not involve a medical emergency. Surgeries or procedures that must be done to preserve the patient's life or physical health, but do not need to be performed immediately, are allowed by a case-by-case determination of the medical provider.
Because some dental office believe that the DHMs do not apply to them, we asked Dr. Craft, NE State Dental Director at DHHS to consult with Thomas J. Safranek, M.D., DHHS State Epidemiologist. Dr. Safranek agrees that the DHMs apply to both dental and medical providers and are working to include this language in the next updated DHM.
For the remainder of NE counties not affected by the DHM listed above, the NDA Board is recommending dental offices in Nebraska follow the Interim Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Dental Settings During the COVID-19 Response issued by the CDC until April 30th. In short, the Guidance states "Postpone elective procedures, surgeries, and non-urgent dental visits, and contact patients prior to emergency procedures. Stay at home if sick and know steps to take if a patient with COVID-19 symptoms enters your facility."
CDC Division of Oral Health
As the expanding global outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues, the
federal government continues to work closely with state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, as well as public health partners across the globe to respond to this public health threat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Oral Health (DOH) is diligently working with CDC’s Emergency Operations Center to develop tailored COVID-19 guidance for dental health care personnel (DHCP). Once this guidance is available online, DOH and partners will promote these resources as well as any related events (e.g., informational webinar, Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity) to the dental community.
It's unknown at this time what the full impact of COVID-19 will be in a U.S., however CDC is preparing as if this were the beginning of a pandemic. All healthcare facilities should take steps now to prepare for the possibility of a widespread and severe COVID-19 outbreak to prepare their practices and protect both their patients and staff. CDC urges providers to be familiar with the information on CDC’s COVID-19 website. Specific information is available for Healthcare Professionals, including a Healthcare Professional Preparedness Checklist, instructions on Evaluating and Reporting Persons Under Investigation (PUI), and a page on What Healthcare Personnel Should Know. DHCP can also consider signing up for communications from CDC’s Health Alert Network, which is CDC’s primary method of sharing cleared information about urgent public health incidents. Standard precautions, including the use of proper personal protective equipment, should be followed when caring for any patient. These practices are designed to both protect DHCP and prevent DHCP from spreading infections among patients.
CDC’s guidelines note that, if not clinically urgent, DHCP should consider postponing nonemergency or elective dental procedures in patients who have signs or symptoms of respiratory illness. For procedures which are considered clinically urgent, dental health care personnel and medical providers should work together to determine an appropriate facility for treatment. The urgency of a procedure is a decision based on clinical judgement and should be made on a caseby-case basis.
The Division of Oral Health will communicate through partners as soon as tailored guidance is available for the dental community. Thank you for all you are doing to keep our country safe and healthy.
ADHA COVID-19 Information
We have heard from many of you regarding the COVID-19 health crisis, what it means for our profession and how you can help distribute information to dental hygienists in your states.
We want you to know that we are here to support you as dental hygiene professionals and as volunteer leaders in our organization. As updates are changing rapidly, it is more important than ever that we, as the only professional associations representing dental hygienists, work together to provide accurate information regarding COVID-19. We know you are fielding questions and concerns about what actions hygienists should take as well as the role ADHA can play.
It’s important to note that as a national professional association, ADHA does not have the authority to mandate dental office closures. We are actively raising our collective professional concerns with federal agencies as they consider the best course of action to maintain the health and safety of dental hygienists and their patients, while addressing critical oral health needs.
Please use and share these resources:
We need your voice! ADHA has launched a national campaign to rally state governors to do the right thing for health and safety of dental hygienists and their patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please join us in this effort by clicking on this link to send this important message today.
ADEA Pandemic Guide for Dental Education
ADEA’s member institutions are actively responding to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in all areas, including patient care, dental education and research. Schools and programs are working with their colleges, universities, academic health centers and state health departments to make informed decisions to ensure not only the safety of their patients, but of all members of the health and education team.Schools and programs are assessing and following local, state and federal policies, regulations and recommendations to meet the needs at their institutions. While working locally, our leaders are thinking globally to ensure the core principles consistent with providing education and oral health care. The dental education community moves forward during this unprecedented worldwide challenge according to our underlying values and practices.Each school or program is making its own decisions in each area, taking into account institutional locale and setting, resources and policies, as well as the aforementioned local, state and federal recommendations, guidelines and other information specific to their situations.
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Covid-19 Updates
To see the latest information from the NE HHSS on the Covid-19 outbreak, click here.
Nebraska Unemployment Updates
On March 17, 2020 Governor Pete Ricketts issued an executive order to permit the loosening of eligibility requirements for unemployment insurance benefits. In line with federal guidance, Governor Ricketts is allowing the Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) to waive the following requirements for claims filed between March 22 and May 2. This timeframe will be evaluated as the situation with COVID-19 progresses.
- Work Search - This change applies to all workers filing for unemployment. While many job search efforts are conducted online, waiving the requirement to search for work is in line with the social distancing practices that are needed to limit the spread of COVID-19 and potential exposure to the disease. The change will also accommodate those workers who are temporarily impacted by COVID-19, including those who are in an unpaid status due to a shutdown, quarantine, or because they are caring for a family member due to illness or a facility closure.
- Unpaid Waiting Week - This change will make the first week of eligibility payable rather than an unpaid waiting week and will help all unemployment recipients get their payments sooner.
- Employer charging - Unemployment benefits are typically paid with contributions from employers. NDOL will temporarily waive charges incurred by employers whose team members are filing claims related to COVID-19. Nebraska has a healthy Trust Fund that will be utilized to pay for unemployment benefits tied to COVID-19.
RDHs needing to file for unemployment benefits should do so online at NEworks.nebraska.gov. The NEworks mobile app is available to download free for those who don’t have computer access. For technical assistance, access the NEworks live chat feature, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 402-458-2500.
Q and A
My employer closed my workplace temporarily because of the coronavirus and is forcing employees to take unpaid leave. What can I do?
If you are receiving vacation pay, sick pay, or personal time off (PTO) pay equal to your normal rate of pay, you would not be eligible for unemployed benefits. If your employer required you to take an unpaid leave of absence, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits.
You may file a claim for Unemployment Insurance benefits with the Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL). To get benefits you only need to meet certain minimum requirements, including having sufficient past earnings and an immigration status that allows you to work. For more information about Unemployment Insurance benefits, including eligibility requirements and how to file a claim, please call 402-458-2500 or visit https://www.dol.nebraska.gov/UIBenefits or
Can my employer force me to work from home?
Can my employer cut my hours?
Yes, an employer can require you to work less hours, more hours, or hours outside of your typical schedule.
Can my employer advance me PTO and require me to use it?
Yes. Additionally, if you are advanced PTO/vacation and are paid for it then choose to leave the company before you have earned the advance, the employer could make a
deduction from your wages in order to recoup the advance.
Can my employer require me to use PTO/ vacation/sick leave?
Yes, an employer can dictate when you have to use leave. An employer can also deny the use of leave.
If I am laid off does that mean I am guaranteed my job back at some point?
No. Nebraska is an employment at will state. Both the employer and employee can terminate employment at any time without notice.
Can my employer pick and choose who to lay off/send home?
Yes, as long as there is no discrimination based on a protected class (race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), disability, marital status, or age).
Can my employer send me home if I’ve been sneezing/coughing?
Can my employer require to me to go to the doctor and not return until I have a note?
Does my employer have to pay me if I’ve been sent home?
No. Your employer is only required to pay you for the time in which you are you working. If you are a salary exempt employee we recommend contacting the USDOL as the
answer may be different for you.
Can my employer check my temperature at work?
Yes. Typically, there are ADA protections in place that would not allow employers to check employee’s temperatures because it is considered part of a medical examination. However, the ADA has guidance on requirements when we are in a pandemic. When a pandemic is declared employers may measure employees temperatures without violating ADA guidelines