March 2024

Volume 41, Issue 1

Lessons Learned from Contact Tracing COVID-19 cases in Dental Settings in East Scotland

Authors: Niall Mc Goldrick Emma O’Keefe
doi: 10.1922/CDH_00183McGoldrick06


Introduction: Dental settings were considered high risk settings for COVID-19. A Dental Public Health Team in East Scotland worked to risk assess each situation timeously to break chains of transmission. Aim: To present learning from routine data collected from contact tracing COVID-19 cases in the dental setting. Design: 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: Descriptive statistics summarise the data collected over a 13-month period (Oct 2020-Dec 2021) during which all included COVID-19 cases were confirmed by PCR. A narrative presents output from contact tracing of all cases and includes themes identified during contact tracing that led to transmission within a dental setting. A case study illustrates impact of transmission. Results: 752 cases 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 with the remainder assessed to result from community transmission. Conclusion: Transmission of COVID-19 in a dental setting, in the context of this study, appears to be confined to non-clinical areas with the majority of staff cases resulting from community transmission. Future pandemic plans should include tools to aid with implementation of guidance in non-clinical areas. Keywords: dentistry, public health, COVID-19, contact tracing, pandemics, epidemiology

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