Patient volume at dental offices in rural areas returned to 84% of pre-pandemic levels, compared with 73% in the 20 most populous US cities, according to data gathered in the week of Jan. 18 by the ADA Health Policy Institute. The disparity could be explained by more diversified business models among rural dentists as well as greater utilization of teledentistry, looser shelter-in-place orders or skepticism of COVID-19, according to Sean Boynes, D.M.D., vice president at DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement, whose work has documented a similar trend. The findings underscore the key role dentists can play, especially in rural areas, in the country's recovery by supporting the vaccine rollout, said ADA HPI Chief Economist and Vice President Marko Vujicic, Ph.D.
The ADA faced a challenging year in 2020, from advising members to reduce operations in the early period of the COVID-19 pandemic, then advocating for reopening practices when it was appropriate to do so, to urging governments to give dentists access to financial support and now advocating for dentists to receive priority in COVID-19 vaccination, according to ADA Executive Director Kathleen T. O'Loughlin, D.M.D. "It's a crisis we learned from. We got better at things; we displayed tremendous courage and resilience. We started meeting our member needs much faster. Dentists know much better now what we do for them, and we have a much stronger relationship with the states and the local dental societies who desperately needed the information we were pumping out," Dr. O'Loughlin said.
Help educate patients on the importance and safety of COVID-19 vaccinations with this new article from the ADA's MouthHealthy.org. "COVID-19 Vaccines: 7 Things Your Dentist Wants You to Know" shares essential vaccine facts and helps debunk common vaccine myths.
Check out the article at MouthHeathy.org/vaccine.
Although radiology practices cannot prevent a cyberattack from happening, radiologists must know what to do when one happens, ACR Chief Compliance Officer Daniel Reardon told the ACR Bulletin. "I think sometimes radiologists forget that everything we do is digital. That means when a cyberattack happens, and your IT people pull the network cord to quarantine malware, radiology may lose every last bit of functionality it normally relies on," ACR Commission on Informatics Chair Dr. Christopher Wald said.
A survey of 218 radiology staff in Australia found that 56% of diagnostic radiographers said their work hours fell during the COVID-19 pandemic, and most radiographers felt the greatest pandemic-related pressure on mobile and general radiography and CT. The findings, published in the Journal of Radiation Medical Sciences, also showed that more than 50% of respondents reported experiencing anxiety and increased personal stress at work due to the pandemic.
President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the US has made progress in defeating the pandemic with the administration of 50 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in just 37 days since he took office, but he encouraged Americans to continue adhering to public health guidelines despite the decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations, cases and deaths. CDC data shows the US government has distributed more than 91.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNtech and administered over 68.2 million doses, as of Thursday morning.
Research shows that dental hygienists are at low risk for COVID-19, according to HealthDay News. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has said hygienists are at high risk, but a study conducted by the ADA and the American Dental Hygienists' Association found that just 3.1% of hygienists have developed COVID-19, and their rates of infection have been comparable to rates among dentists and lower than infection rates among other health care professionals, according to research reported in the Journal of Dental Hygiene and reported previously in ADA News. The ADA and ADHA discussed these and other findings during a joint webinar on Wednesday that is available for on-demand viewing.
Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled Thursday that a provision to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour may not be part of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill being advanced via budget reconciliation, CNBC and National Public Radio report. The development means the Senate will likely vote on a different version of the bill, which will then have to return to the House for a vote if it clears the Senate.
The Iowa House overwhelmingly voted to pass a bill that would allow dentists to administer vaccines for COVID-19 and influenza, KCCI-TV of Des Moines reports. The legislation includes a requirement that dentists participate in four hours of training on administering vaccines and specifies dental assistants and hygienists are not authorized to administer the vaccines.
The FDA has granted Pfizer and BioNTech's request to allow their COVID-19 vaccine to be transported and stored for up to two weeks at standard freezer temperatures instead of ultracold conditions, Reuters and The Hill report. "Alternative temperature for transportation and storage will help ease the burden of procuring ultra-low cold storage equipment for vaccination sites and should help to get vaccine to more sites," says the agency's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D.
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