Dental guidelines released from state health department

The Pennsylvania Department of Health today released an update to the dental health care guidance as part of the commonwealth’s phased COVID-19 reopening plan. This guidance allows dental health care providers the ability to safely provide oral healthcare, including routine cleanings.

“This latest update provides dentists the opportunity to resume non-emergency dental care, including routine care, if they can provide it safely,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. “Oral health is a key part to one’s overall health, and we strongly encourage all Pennsylvanians to regularly see a dentist and receive oral healthcare. As more dental procedures are performed during the phased reopening, dentists should prioritize dental care for the highest need, most vulnerable patients first.”

Dental providers should follow protocols outlined by the CDC for all procedures. Providers should ensure they have the appropriate amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies to support their patient volume. The appropriate level of PPE, according to CDC guidance, must be available for all dental care practitioners including dental hygienists prior to providing any dental treatment. Providers should regularly check CDC guidance when providing care as recommendations and guidance could change frequently. The full guidance can be found here

All patients should be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 before arriving at the practice and social distancing should be maintained while in the practice. Patients should wash or sanitize their hands frequently and wear a mask when not undergoing treatment. Tele-density should continue when possible as patients may be able to be treated virtually.

According to figures released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Pennsylvania added 511 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday. The state has 73,405 cases of the virus since the first case was discovered in March.

The death toll was increased by 75 souls on Tuesday, putting the count at 5,742.

Dauphin County added 26 cases and eight deaths to its total on Tuesday, while Schuylkill County added three new cases, while Northumberland County added one new case. Dauphin County currently stands at a total to 1,385 cases with 85 deaths, Schuylkill stands at 646 cases with 36 deaths, and Northumberland County is at 199 cases and three deaths.

In comparison, Philadelphia County, the hot spot of the state, added 82 cases and 13 deaths, putting their totals at 18,785 positive cases and 1,359 deaths since the coronavirus first hit in March..

Officials say that the public’s effort to fight and prevent the spread of the disease must continue.

“As Pennsylvania continues to move forward in the process to reopen, we need to remember that the threat from COVID-19 has not gone away,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “As counties move into the yellow and green phases, we must take personal responsibility to protect others. Wearing a mask, continuing to maintain social distancing, and washing your hands frequently are all steps we can take to help protect others, including our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, our essential workers and our healthcare system.”

As far as negative tests for each county, Dauphin is listed as having 10,859 negative tests while Schuylkill reported 5,352 negative tests and 1,518 in Northumberland County.

The state also updated numbers of age ranges of the positive cases and hospitalizations to date. Currently 1,302 Pennsylvania residents are hospitalized with the virus and its complications, no change from yesterday.

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 15,752 resident cases of COVID-19, and 2,719 cases among employees, for a total of 18,471 at 611 distinct facilities in 44 counties. Out of our total deaths, 3,621 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. Approximately 5,557 of our total cases are in health care workers.

The breakdown is as follows:

Positive cases

Ages 0-4, <1%; 5-12, <1%; 13-18, 2%; 19-24, 6%; 25-49, 37%; 50-64, 25%, 65+, 28%


Ages 0-4, <1%; 5-12 <1%; 13-18, <1%; 19-24, 1%;  25-49, 15%; 50-64, 26%; 65+, 57%

The counties affected and the number of confirmed cases, with the number of deaths in parentheses, are:

Adams-260 (8), Allegheny-1,952 (166), Armstrong-64 (5), Beaver-593 (74), Bedford-41 (2),  Berks-4,132 (322), Blair-52 (1), Bradford-46 (3), Bucks-5,137 (519), Butler-235 (12), Cambria- 59 (2), Cameron-2, Carbon-241 (24), Centre-154 (7), Chester-2,863 (287), Clarion-27 (2), Clearfield-42, Clinton-60 (3), Columbia-349 (31), Crawford-29, Cumberland-654 (53), Dauphin-1,385 (85), Delaware-6,548 (576), Elk-6, Erie-314 (5), Fayette-95 (4), Forest-7, Franklin-782 (37), Fulton-15 (1), Greene-27, Huntingdon-232 (3), Indiana-91 (5), Jefferson-14, Juniata-95 (4), Lackawanna-1,556 (180), Lancaster-3,267 (310), Lawrence-83 (8), Lebanon-994 (34), Lehigh-3,802 (239), Luzerne-2,766 (155), Lycoming-166 (17), McKean-12 (1), Mercer-107 (5), Mifflin-59 (1), Monroe-1,326 (102), Montgomery-7,242 (702), Montour-53, Northampton-3,120 (220), Northumberland-199 (3), Perry-62 (3), Philadelphia-18,785 (1,359), Pike-478 (20), Potter-4, Schuylkill-646 (36), Snyder-45 (1), Somerset-38 (1), Sullivan-3, Susquehanna-111 (15), Tioga-19 (2), Union-63 (1), Venango-9, Warren-4, Washington-140 (6), Wayne-120 (8), Westmoreland-453 (38), Wyoming-34 (7), York-1,037 (27).

As of midnight June 3, there have been 408,269 negative tests for the coronavirus, 8,908 more than the day before. The state also said that 68 percent of the confirmed cases have recovered. If a case has not been reported as a death, and it is more than 30 days past the date of their first positive test (or onset of symptoms) then an individual is considered recovered.

The current listing of counties and the phases they are in are as follows:

Red counties (expected to move to yellow on June 5) — Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia,

Yellow counties (counties in bold moving to green phase on June 5 — Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Carbon, Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Erie, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Juniata, Lebanon, Luzerne, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Mifflin, Monroe, Northumberland, Perry, Pike, Schuylkill, Somerset, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Union, Washington, Wayne Westmoreland, Wyoming, and York.

Green counties — Bradford, Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Montour, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Venango and Warren.

What is coronavirus?

According to the Pa. Department of Health, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common throughout the world. These viruses can live in animals and at times, evolve and infect people before spreading through human to human contact.

Human coronaviruses are spread just like the common cold or the flu — either through the air through coughing or sneezing, through close personal contact like touching or shaking hands, or by touching an object or surface with the virus on it.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The symptoms can appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after a person is exposed to the illness. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to severe illness and death. As of June 3, the U.S. Center for Disease Control reports there have been 1,802,470 cases of the Coronavirus reported in the U.S. with 105,157 deaths.

What can you do?

Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
Clean surfaces frequently.
Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
If you must go out for a life-sustaining reason, please wear a mask.
The Pa. Department of Health offers these guidelines as the COVID-19 crisis continues.

Stay home as much as possible. Try to get groceries once per week instead of daily. Freedom of travel remains, but please refrain from non-essential travel. Essential travel includes things like commuting to an essential job, picking up supplies like groceries and medicine, and checking on family and pets in other households. Do not host or attend gatherings.