Newsletter #23 | July 14, 2021
Just a reminder, we are open. We are continuing to follow the sanitizing protocols we established last year (see prior newsletters). You are still required to wear a mask when inside the office even if you are vaccinated, except when getting treatment (I do like to state the obvious). We are also requesting you to sanitize your hands BEFORE entering the office. There is a dispenser right outside our door.
If you have already received your COVID-19 vaccination, that is awesome! Right now 79% of San Diegans have received their first dose, and 68% are fully vaccinated. Unfortunately, the Delta variant of COVID-19 is twice as infectious and is now the dominant strain in California. Currently, 99% of all COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are people who have NOT been vaccinated. Anyone over 12 years old can and should be vaccinated. Why? To protect not only those who are unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons, but, just as important, to protect all children under age 12. Even though they usually do not get as sick, children can be carriers AND can get severely ill with multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). Babies under 1 year are more at risk for COVID-19 complications. So, please, PLEASE, PLEASE get vaccinated to protect our children. (Click here to see where to get vaccinated.)
The side effects of the vaccines are mild compared to the potential problems of getting COVID-19. It is a new virus that your body has no knowledge of, which means EVERYONE will eventually get it. A vaccine jump-starts your immune system, so if you are exposed, you won’t get as sick. Personally, I feel the risks associated with any of the vaccines are minor compared to dying or getting permanent lung damage or long haulers syndrome. And, I believe, we have a moral duty to protect the vulnerable among us.
On a different note, last month was PRIDE Month, and I read four amazing books. “Cemetery Boys” by Aiden Thomas, “Between Perfect and Real” by Ray Stoeve, “This Is How It Always Is” by Laurie Frankel and “Nottingham” by Anna Burke. The first two are young adult novels about teenaged trans boys. The third is about a trans girl and her incredible, eccentric family. The last is a retelling of the Robin Hood story as a gay woman. This month our piggy bank fundraiser is for the LGBTQ Resource Center in Oceanside. I have been getting a gender education. I am still confused with all the different genders, but now I have a greater understanding. Enjoy your summer!
Newsletter #22 April 12, 2021
I trust you and yours are staying safe and healthy. We are continuing to provide the same level of disinfecting the office that we did before the vaccination release (see prior newsletters). It is safe to get your dental treatment (unless you are a dental phobic, then no time is “safe”, and we love you anyway).
I was so very grateful to get the Covid-19 vaccination. I didn’t realize the level of my low-grade anxiety until I felt tremendous relief after being vaccinated. In the flu pandemic of 1918, 1/3 of the world’s population (500 million) got sick, and 50 million died (it was a new virus). Our world population now is 7.9 billion people. Which, using the same numbers for this current pandemic, would mean 2.6 billion people could get Covid-19 and 260 million could die. As of right now, we have had 2.9 million deaths worldwide. Thank goodness, we have slowed the spread of this new virus, and we can slow it even more by being vaccinated and achieving herd immunity.
Some of the major reasons to get vaccinated are:
- To protect yourself from getting a severe case of Covid-19 or dying.
- To protect all the children, elderly and immune-suppressed people that can’t get vaccinated.
- To slow the spread of all the forms of this virus.
- To possibly reverse some long hauler symptoms.
- To protect all our “essential” workers – from health care providers to our grocery clerks.
- To reopen all businesses safely so our economy and our lives can get back on track!!!
- To fully reopen all the schools and daycare so parents can return to work.
- And to crush this bug we need to ALL work together!!! Do it for the team!! And it’s FREE!!!
I, for one, believe in vaccines. They are amazing medical breakthroughs and are our friends. I lost my hearing in my right ear from the mumps (pre-vaccine). In 1958, before the measles vaccine, 763,000 died in the U.S., and 42 years later, the measles was pretty much gone. In the past few years, since many kids are not getting the vaccine, measles has made a comeback and we are currently at the highest level in 25 years.* Do we want that with Covid-19? All that said, I strongly suggest you get the Covid-19 vaccine. It is available to everyone in California on April 15. Encourage all your family and friends to do the same wherever they may live.
I understand that many people have concerns, and I will try to address some here.
- I am healthy, I never get sick. I am young.
This is a NEW virus; EVERYONE will eventually get it, including YOU. (sorry)
Death rate** is hugely different from death risk***.
- Is it safe? Can I trust it?
Even though it was developed very fast, these vaccines had to follow the same safety protocols as every other vaccine or drug. mRNA has been around for over 10 years, and will be the way of vaccines in the future (quicker and less expensive to make, and it doesn’t mess with your DNA). It is incredible what can be accomplished when scientists share their information, red tape is slashed, there is access to tons of money, and there are thousands of volunteers for clinical trials. (BTW President Trump got his vaccination in January.)
- I am allergic to vaccines or I have an autoimmune disease.
Don’t get the vaccine and pray that everyone else does.
Whether or not you choose to be vaccinated against COVID-19 represents a personal choice. However, in order to make an informed decision, please access reliable data backed by science.
Newsletter #21 March 11, 2021
Yes, I do keep saying it. We are open. And we are a safe place to be. We do numerous things to keep everyone safe: all of our regular pre-Covid infection control protocol plus our current Covid respiratory protocol (an hour between patients in every room plus cold fogging and disinfecting, HEPA filters, HVE’s for aerosols, closing doors during treatment, limiting patients in the office, etc. See prior newsletters.) And all of the staff have received their Covid vaccinations. We are so excited about the extra level of safety that provides us and you.
That said, let’s talk vaccinations.* Out of my staff, I only had one person have a reaction to the first shot (Pfizer) and one had a reaction to the second (Moderna). Now J & J’s is available, which is only one dose for those shot phobic people. I am encouraging all of you to get queued up to get your vaccination ASAP, or at least as soon as they allow your group to get it. Why?? First, because it protects you from dying of Covid if you get it or one of the mutant strains, you won’t get as sick if you do catch it and you won’t be an unsuspecting carrier of the virus. Second, we have NO idea of the future problems, 10 years or more down the road, that may arise because of getting Covid now. We just don’t know (see post-polio syndrome**).
If you’ve been fully vaccinated (2 weeks after your 2nd dose, or J & J one dose)***
- You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
- You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
Even if vaccinated, still protect yourself and others by wearing your mask, social distancing, and hand washing. Avoid crowds, poorly ventilated spaces and optional travel.**** Continue to be safe and sane.
On a different note, I am reading the books on my daughter’s book club list because it can be a wonderful way to discover new authors. The first book, So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo, examines this rather charged and topical subject. Educating ourselves is the first step towards understanding systemic racism and how it impacts all of us. This book helped me see that I have multiple unrecognized and unacknowledged privileges that I receive just because I am a white, middle-class, able-bodied, college-educated, straight, cis-gender, healthy woman. I highly recommend this fabulous book. For those of you who prefer fiction, Jodi Picoult in her equally fantastic book, Small Great Things also addresses the unconscious biases we all have.
“Fear begets fear; and fear denies freedom. Any society that draws its strength from fear has one voice and no others.” The Chronicles of Krystonia by Beau Dix and Mark Scott
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.” Dune by Frank Herbert
Newsletter #20 February 1, 2021
We are open and we exceed the sanitation recommendations of the CDC and the CDA to keep you (and us) safe from the coronavirus and from the new and more contagious one (read earlier newsletters to get all the nitty-gritty details, lol). My staff and I have received our first vaccine shot and are looking forward to the second one. Just like you, we are excited about life returning to normal later this year.
That said, there is a whole lot of discussion on whether or not to get the Covid vaccination. I am going to address some of the concerns related to the vaccines’ safety and how drug companies could make them so quickly (Time magazine, January 18/25 2021 issue).
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use the “new” mRNA mode of delivery. This mRNA research has been ongoing for the past 10 years, it is not new, but a new way to make a vaccine rather than using a live or dead virus. This will probably be the way of the future for vaccines.
The Covid vaccines were able to be developed so quickly for a number of reasons. China released the DNA sequence promptly and scientists around the world shared their research about the virus. Here in the States, millions of dollars were thrown into the research so lack of money wouldn’t slow the process down. Also, the FDA cut through much of the bureaucratic red tape, in essence, fast-tracking the vaccines (Fast Pass, anyone?). Clinical trials could be done quickly and easily because so many people volunteered to be the guinea pigs. Safety and efficacy had to be established before the vaccines were approved. Pfizer and Moderna have over 90% efficacy rate which is unheard of in a vaccine.
Finally, no drug company would want to release a vaccine that would be harmful to us because that would seriously affect the health of the company: wrongful death lawsuits, lack of trust in the company, stock price falling, etc. They want to make money, not go out of business. So, when it becomes available for your tier, get it!!! Let’s get back to normal!!!
On another note, the post-election concern of healing a fractured nation, I have added my comments to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address of 158 years ago (11/19/1863). What was true then is still true now.
“Four Score and seven years ago (12 score and 5 years ago) our fathers (and mothers) brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men (all people, regardless of color or gender identification) are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war (a time of major political divisions), testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. . . . We here highly resolve that these dead (either due to Covid19 or racial injustice) shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
BTW The song “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield (1966), also highlights our current state of the union perfectly. https://genius.com/Buffalo-springfield-for-what-its-worth-lyrics
January 5, 2021 (Newsletter #19)
HAPPY NEW YEAR! We have a wonderful year ahead of us, full of hope and promise. In spite of the fact that we have a new variation of COVID-19, we are past the midpoint of this pandemic isolation (according to me, authority of one, lol).
This new improved strain (from the virus point of view) is more contagious (spreads up to 70% faster*) because it binds better to our cell receptors. 50% of those infected are asymptomatic, but the disease is not more severe (hallelujah to that!). Great for the virus but bad for us since it can infect and spread to more people in a shorter amount of time. For us, it means we need to continue to be extremely vigilant with wearing our masks properly, social distancing compulsively and hand-washing consistently until we achieve herd immunity. And then par-tay time!
Oh, and get the vaccine when it becomes available for your tier, which should shorten the time until we can all play (and work) without masks. In spite of what you may have been hearing, the vaccines are safe, and you are not being injected with nanobots, and it won’t alter your DNA** (you have your cell phone for that bit of anti-privacy).
That said, our dental office is a very safe place to be. Why? We limit the number of patients in the office at a given time and sanitize the reception room, front office and patient bathroom throughout the day. We have HEPA filters running all day, plus we use a high-speed extraoral vacuum during any procedure that generates aerosols (it sounds like you are in a wind tunnel or MRI machine, LOUD). In each operatory, after every patient, the door remains closed (to prevent any aerosol escaping) for 10 minutes, then we cold-fog, which kills any remaining airborne virus***. We wait 10 minutes more before completely sanitizing all the surfaces in the room. This entire process takes about 30 minutes, plus we usually allow one hour between patients in every room. It is our goal to keep everyone healthy. Your part is to stay home if you are not feeling well or have been around anyone that is sick. We thank you for that.
The last bit of a marathon is the hardest stretch. We can do this!
5 Ways to Stay Positive This Winter
- Get Moving: Exercise increases endorphins, and in nature, increases peace.
- Stop Overthinking: Don’t get sucked down the “what if,” negative rabbit hole spiral.
- Set a New Target: Learn something new or outside your comfort zone.
- Talk It Over: We are herd animals and need our tribe. Reach out, connect. We are all lonely.
- Do It Badly: There is never a perfect time to start. 5-4-3-2-1 → Do it now!****
Go to complete article: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-55264224
*https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/01/viral-mutations-may-cause-another-very-very-bad-covid-19-wave-scientists-warn AND https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2020/12/virus-mutation-catastrophe/617531/
** www.snopes.com: A great fact-checking site
***”The 5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins
December 12, 2020 (Newsletter #18)
Great news! Not only are vaccines nearly ready (an incredible feat considering the short time span), but there is now an awesome mobile contact tracing app generated by Apple and Google working together. The more people who download it on their smart phones, the more effective it will be. Our phones will talk to each other via Bluetooth, but our locations and identities are totally masked. Our phones will be generating random numbers every 10 to 20 minutes, and that is what is transmitted. If you test positive, you can enter that on your phone, and anyone who has been in contact with you for over 15 minutes in the preceding two weeks will be notified that they may have been exposed and to go get tested. Your identity is never revealed. This is HUGE, especially since everywhere is a hot spot, and we do not have the people power to keep up with the contact tracing in a timely manner. Visit CANotify.ca.gov to learn more about how CA Notify works and how you can access it on your own iPhone or Android device. https://techblog.cdt.ca.gov/2020/12/california-launches-statewide-covid-notification-app/
As a reminder, if you test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of your dental visit, please let us know. Also, if you arrive really early for your appointment, please stay in your car and come in five minutes before your appointment. As a general rule, come in five minutes before your appointment so we can do the preappointment screening and temperature check. That allows us to more easily stay on schedule. Thank you.
On a lighter note, it’s time to indulge in all your favorite Christmas movies. Some that are on my family’s list are “Die Hard” 1 and 2, “Home Alone,” “Love Actually” and “Scrooged.” We always watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” Christmas Eve, and it still makes me cry after all these years. Christmas morning, we watch “Miracle on 34th Street” while opening presents. I know you all have your own Christmas traditions, and unfortunately for most of us, they have to be changed a bit to stay safe and healthy through the holiday season. We are in the second half of our COVID-19 marathon. Hang in there. We can do this! Happy Holidays.
December 8, 2020 (Newsletter #17)
We are still open and will remain open during this current stay-at-home order. There are no new restrictions on dental care. You can keep your current appointment and make additional ones, if needed. We have very high sanitation standards. There is usually an hour between patients in any operatory, plus we have HEPA filters in each room and cold fog after every patient, and the operatory gets completely wiped down with a medical-grade disinfectant between patients. We use high-speed extra oral suctions when we are doing anything that generates aerosols. The front desk and reception area are wiped down hourly. We are doing our part. Your part is to wear your mask, sanitize your hands, practice social distancing, be prudent in your activities, and stay home if you have a fever or are not feeling well.
New research has shown that the flu shot may shield you from landing in the hospital or ICU. People who did not have the flu shot prior to getting COVID-19 were hospitalized 2.4 times more and ended up in the ICU 3.3 times more. They do not know why the flu shot helps protect you, but it does. So if you have not yet received your flu shot, go get it NOW!
The vaccines are coming! This is very exciting news, especially since the three that are close to release have a 90% efficacy rate. This is HUGE! It will take a while for everyone to get vaccinated. This time next year, life will be close to the old normal if people get vaccinated and continue to follow recommended health guidelines.
I know we are all suffering from some level of the COVID-19 Blues, but hang in there. Keep focusing on things in your life to be grateful for. Breathe deeply. When your mind starts to skitter to the abyss of despair and depression, yank it back to the present moment. Breathe deeply (in for a count of six, hold for two, slowly exhale for eight) while focusing on the good stuff in your life. Which for most of us, in spite of the trauma this pandemic is causing, is pretty darn good.
Stay safe and healthy.
November 24, 2020 (Newsletter #16)
We are wishing you and yours a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving. Even though San Diego County is purple, there is plenty to be grateful for. I am grateful for my wonderful daughter, my family and Zoom (one niece had two birthday parties for her children; another had her RN pinning ceremony). We will not be doing a Zoom Thanksgiving dinner, although I would eat less, LOL. With everyone’s increased awareness of good heath practices, we will see fewer cases of flu and colds this winter. And the incredible news is that there are currently three vaccines in the third phase of development that are 90% effective! So, most likely, (God willing and the creek don’t rise), this time next year, we will all be able to have our big family gatherings without the extra worry of getting sick.
And if you aren’t wearing your mask consistently or appropriately, please reconsider. In July, Kansas mandated mask wearing. 21 counties chose to comply, 81 chose not to. In the counties that required mask wearing, the rate of infection dropped by 6% while in the other counties, cases went up 100%. This is a public health issue and shouldn’t be a political one. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/11/23/937173060/mask-mandates-work-to-slow-spread-of-coronavirus-kansas-study-finds
On the gratitude note, about 13 years ago, I heard about the “Complaint-Free World” movement started at One Community Spiritual Center in Kansas City, Missouri, by Pastor Will Bowen. As he says, “Complaining is like bad breath — you notice it when it comes out of someone else’s mouth but not when it comes out of your own.” https://www.willbowen.com/complaintfree/ I ordered some, and my staff and I entered the challenge of being complaint-free for a month. You start with the bracelet on one wrist, and if you complain, criticize or gossip, you move it to the other wrist and start the day count over. It is much harder than you think because we underestimate how much we do complain. I think it may be time to do it again. Especially now, when there is so much negative “stuff” getting our attention. And as you may know, you get more of what you pay attention to. https://experiencelife.com/article/a-complaint-free-world/
November 12, 2020 (Newsletter #15)
Purple is my third favorite color behind cobalt blue and fire engine red. But not as a COVID-19 color. We were doing great and now BAM, up to purple. In San Diego County, we have 8.9 cases per 100,000 and 49 community outbreaks. Yes, 49! The goal is to have 7 or fewer in both categories. (https://sdcounty.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/30b5e0fa2a5f4404b1219d8cd16b2583) This means that as a group, we are not doing our best with mask wearing and social distancing. Yet, the better we do, more businesses can stay open and survive this mess. I know we are all suffering from the COVID-19 blues, which is lessened by being in contact with others. So, please be prudent in your social activities. We don’t know what the long-term health consequences of getting COVID-19 will be, and I, for one, don’t want to have any of them. We are coming up to the holiday season. Make good choices, stay safe and healthy.
At the office, we are continuing to do everything I have talked about in past newsletters (an hour between patients per room, complete sanitizing of the rooms between patients, cold fogging after every patient, HEPA filters in each room, high-speed extraoral vacuums, etc.). Our goal is to keep you safe and healthy while you are receiving your needed dental treatment. Thank you for trusting us. And thank you for keeping the office safe by not coming in if you are feeling under the weather.
In my last newsletter, I chatted about choosing joy. Martha Beck wrote “The Joy Diet.” It is not a losing-weight diet; it is a happiness “diet.” She teaches you 10 daily practices to increase the happiness in your life. This is one of my favorite life help books. (Other favorites, just in case you want to know, are “The Confidence Gap” by Russ Harris and “Loving What Is” by Byron Katie. I won’t bore you with more.) One study found that children laugh about 400 times in a day while adults only laugh about 20 times. It is said that angels can fly because they take themselves lightly. We could learn something from children and angels about connecting to joy.
I know this election on top of COVID-19 has been extremely stressful for everyone, no matter who you voted for. That said, it is time to move forward and work together as a nation. We have shown our best selves when we have worked together for the greater good. We have done it in the past; we can do it now. It takes the courage to really listen without judgment to the other’s viewpoint and find common ground (“Beyond the Bubble” by Tania Israel, PhD). We all want to be safe, have financial stability, grow happy, healthy children and achieve our dreams. There is enough for everyone. As my Buddhist friend would say, “Namaste” (the divine in me respectfully recognizes the divine in you). I wish you all joy and sanity.
October 6, 2020 (Newsletter #14)
You may have been wondering what happened to my weekly newsletter. I caught the COVID-19 blues. Not the virus but the result of being a good girl and isolating myself (me and my cats, lol). I have always been a glass-half-full kind of gal, basically optimistic and happy, sometimes annoyingly so. But I have found that I have somehow misplaced my joy. Since I am an ambivert (yes, there is such a thing, an introvert/extrovert combo), I am not suffering as much as the true extroverts but more than the true introverts. I am sure I am not alone in having the COVID-19 blues. You may be suffering from it, too.
Some of the things I am doing to bring more joy into my life are Zoom Happy Hours with distant friends, annoying others by over-texting, long phone conversations with my family and taking private dance lessons. All these things are helping, but it is not enough since I am spending half my life at work.
Next time when you come in for an appointment, you may find us doing silly unexpected things. I think I may tape a hopscotch down the center hall, or maybe skip between patients. Not totally sure yet, but I have to do more fun stuff at work for my sanity. You are invited to join us in our journey to more joy (I haven’t told my staff yet — you are the first to know). We will be posting on Facebook what we are doing, and I may even use my Twitter account. It is a new normal, after all.
Back to the bits you are actually interested in. We thank you for staying home if you are not feeling 100% healthy, wearing your masks properly, washing your hands, social distancing and making prudent choices of activities.
What we are doing here to keep you safe and healthy is wiping down all the public areas hourly, sanitizing any pens or clipboards before reuse, running HEPA filters in each room, closing doors to contain aerosols, using high-speed extraoral vacuums during procedures, cold fogging (newsletter #11), and wiping down every surface in the room with a hospital-grade disinfectant between patients. Plus, limiting the number of patients in the office, etc (newsletters #’s 6, 7, 9). I have already bored you silly. Working together, we can all stay safe and healthy until there is a vaccine and we have herd immunity.
Let’s choose joy.
“Pay attention to the things that connect you with joy … It’s one of the secrets to life that no one ever tells you. Joy cures everything … Joy is the antidote to fear. To anger. To boredom. To sorrow … But you can’t just decide to feel joyful … you can decide to do something joyful.”
What You Wish For by Katherine Carter
August 3, 2020 (Newsletter #13)
I trust you are doing well and staying healthy through all these COVID-19 challenges. I just want to remind you about what we are doing here to keep you protected from the virus. We not only limit the number of patients in the office and at the front desk at any time but also have a minimum of 30 minutes of room downtime between patients. We have HEPA filters with UV lights in every room, which run all day long (filtering the air three to four times an hour). We close the doors (or curtains) into the operatories when we are working to contain the aerosol generated. We cold fog each room, which also kills any viruses in the air, and do a complete sanitizing of the room before the next patient is seated. We currently have high-speed extra oral evacuators (HVE) on order for each room (some of you have met Cecil, my HVE that I use for my air abrasion fillings). For those of you who are extra vulnerable, the safest appointments of the day are the first ones of the day. Or if you really want to be extra, extra safe, the first appointment on Monday.
What you can do for us is stay home if you are not feeling well (pretty please). We would rather reschedule your appointment than put anyone at risk. And wear your mask at all times in the office, except when we ask you to remove it for treatment. Our best defense is that no virus passes our door. We can’t guarantee that given the nature of COVID-19, but we are doing the best we possibly can.
In San Diego County, we have lowered our case number from 154/100,000 to 120/100,000. So that is moving in the right direction. Case tracing has increased from 8% to 41% (goal is 70%). But for this to be effective in limiting the spread, tests results are needed within 48 hours. Now it takes about 10 days. We still have too many incidences of “community spread,” which means too many people are getting together with not enough protection — either mask wearing or social distancing.
As a state, we have a strong downward trend in cases (14-day moving average), which is very good. https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/new-cases-50-states
But the United States as a whole is NOT on course to get control of this pandemic. https://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/our-work/publications/resetting-our-response-changes-needed-in-the-us-approach-to-covid-19 This is because we do not have strong federal leadership to coordinate the public health response.
“After five months of attempting to control COVID-19, the United States has emerged as one of the worst-performing countries in the world, with one in four of all global COVID deaths occurring in the US and a death rate that is among the world’s worst.” https://resolvetosavelives.org/about/press/most-of-united-states-not-reporting-essential-covid-19-data
Mask wearing or not has somehow become associated with our personal freedom and politicized. Unfortunately, this is an international public health crisis that can be minimized by proper mask wearing (cover your mouth and nose). I personally feel that wearing a mask is a sign of respect for everyone around you and tells them that you value them.
July 20, 2020 (Newsletter #12)
COVID-19 Health Safety Fee, what? I need to pay an additional fee! Isn’t your PPE (personal protective equipment) already included in your fees? Yes, it is (even though we are now paying three times as much for them! Plus needing face shields and N95 masks).
This nominal fee is to help defray the costs of the extra equipment we have needed to purchase (HEPA air filters for each room, the cold fogging system, the extra-oral high speed suctions that are on order) and the added cost of keeping the office colder so we don’t die from heat stroke. We also hired a sterilization assistant to handle the more extensive sanitizing protocols now in place and make the preappointment screening phone calls. We are doing all these things to keep you and your family safe and healthy. Our PPE protects us from you and you from us but does nothing to keep you safe from the prior patient and any dental aerosol created. Our HEPA filters, cold fogging, time lapse between patients, preappointment mouth wash and extensive sanitizing of the rooms are what keep you safe during your dental appointment. This fee is only temporary. Thank you for your understanding.
On that note, San Diego County was doing a great job on containing COVID-19, but we have lapsed and had 1193 cases last weekend (153/100,000) — OUCH!!
So, please wear your mask (yes, we all hate them). Practice social distancing. Be prudent in the size of your groups — keep them SMALL!! Hang out outside. Let’s do our part so more businesses not only can reopen but STAY open. (I, for one, like getting timely haircuts and other “non-essential” services.) We really are ALL in this together. Since this is a brand new virus to us (think HIV in the 80’s, also a virus that jumped from an animal to humans), the bottom line is COVID-19 won’t “go away” until either we have all caught it or we have all been vaccinated against it. And then, like the flu, it will mutate, but our bodies will be better able to fight it. The hygienic habits you are doing now for COVID-19 will help you not to get the flu or colds this fall, a small silver lining in this “new normal” we are now living. (Like most people, right now I have a very boring life, and I am looking forward to “living it up” a year from now!!!)
A clean limerick from Dana, our talented insurance coordinator:
So here is one thing that we ask
To help us prepare for our task
Help us by keeping it clean
And do your part by wearing a mask
My wish for you is to stay safe, stay sane and stay healthy. And, of course, have some good clean fun!! (Smirk all you want behind your mask, no one can tell. LOL)
July 13, 2020 (Newsletter #11)
We are now cold fogging the rooms between patients! This is an amazing addition to our current disinfecting protocol. We feel we are in a “Ghostbusters” movie, but as far as we know, no ghosts are hurt by it. We are doing everything we can to keep you safe from others. As long as you do your bit and we do our bit, we should all stay healthy (the wealthy and wise is up to you).
Cold fogging with hypochlorous acid (HOCL) addresses the threat of dental aerosol that is generated during certain dental procedures and also disinfects into spaces that are otherwise unreachable. HOCL is one way the human body defends itself against infection. https://www.docseducation.com/blog/star-wars
Currently, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has recommended numerous disinfectants against COVID-19, which includes hypochlorous acid (HOCL). The mechanism of disinfection involves the destroying of the cell wall of viruses, which inactivates them. HOCL has been shown to inactivate a variety of viruses, including coronaviruses, in less than one minute. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7315945/
The reason hypochlorous acid is such an effective oxidant is because it carries no electrical charge. In contrast, the hypochlorite ion (bleach) carries a negative charge. Because germ surfaces also carry a negative charge, they initially repel each other. It takes up to half an hour for bleach to do the job, whereas HOCL’s lack of electrical charge allows it to penetrate the protective lipid barrier surrounding the viral particles quickly and to destroy the proteins in a matter of seconds.
HOCL, unlike chlorine bleach, is 100% safe, nonirritating and not corrosive. Various concentrations are used in the food industry, for eye and wound care, and as surface disinfectants. So, if it gets on your skin or in your eyes, it will not burn. Even if it were accidentally ingested, it is nontoxic. https://thenew.dentist/article/your-cold-fogging-questions-answered/
July 6, 2020 (Newsletter #10)
We have now been open a month. YAY!! We are still getting used to all the extra gear we wear and new protocols — you are getting used to a basically empty office that feels like a meat locker. We are now a bunch of “hot” babes, and unfortunately, not in a good way. Don’t forget a sweatshirt or jacket: It will be cold in here. And you don’t need to phone from your car; just come in five minutes prior to your appointment.
As a reminder, you must wear a mask at all times in the office except during dental treatment. If you arrive without one, we will provide you with one. COVID-19 spreads by respiratory droplets that are released even when you are just talking normally. COVID-19 is a tricky disease. Only 65% of people infected have a fever. Many have no symptoms at all and can still shed the virus to you and me. On the same tangent, please always wear your mask when you are in any indoor public space, or outdoors if you can’t maintain 6 feet social distance. Do this as a sign of respect for your fellow earthlings (I am fairly certain that this virus won’t affect any extraterrestrials among us). We are all in this together, so let’s all pull together, too.
Another request is to please notify us if you have any flu-like symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days after your appointment. Your information will be kept confidential. We appreciate your cooperation in this matter.
I found a couple of great websites. Dr. Michael Greger has fantastic videos explaining COVID-19: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/covid-19/ He also wrote the book “How Not to Die.” If you are interested in science-based information, he is definitely a man to follow. The other site has good information if you are going to travel. It tracks the COVID-19 spread by county in an easy to read map: https://globalepidemics.org/key-metrics-for-covid-suppression/ For example, Imperial County is a COVID-19 hot spot (red), 89.9 cases per 100,000 people and rising. San Diego County is orange with 14.1 cases per 100,000, but unfortuately, we are trending up. In terms of your dental appointments, if you visit a California hot spot (currently, Imperial, Kings, San Joaquin, Colusa and Marin Counties) or travel out of state to a hot spot, please let us know. We are more than happy to reschedule your appointment to 14 days after you return. Stay safe, stay sane and stay healthy.
June 3, 2020 (Newsletter #9)
Hello again 🙂
We are officially open!!! We are all very excited to have returned to work before we lost our sanity. We are also adjusting to all the new protocols, from how we check you in when you arrive (temperature, anyone?) to the extra personal protection equipment we need to wear (bring a jacket, it’s cold in here) and the extra sanitizing that needs to be done. It is working fairly smoothly so far, with a few random hiccups; thank you for being patient with us. I am sure there will be ongoing tweaking of our systems as rules change.
Most of you will be happy to know that the goodie basket is back in operation. You just need to sanitize your hands before searching for your prize. Our daily winners now get a wonderful hot/cold neck pack, while supplies last. The weekly winners will continue to receive a $25 gift card of their choice. And, of course, we still have our monthly referral drawing winner who also receives a $25 gift card and our heartfelt thanks. We appreciate the confidence you show in us by referring your family, friends and the random person you meet in the grocery store line. And for those of you that have read all their books during the past few months, The Little Free Library is open, Monday to Friday!
We are now in Phase 3 of reopening San Diego County (hair cut and coloring time). Kudos to all of you for doing your part in making this happen! Keep on doing your bit with mask wearing (even if you don’t believe in it), hand washing and being prudent in your new social activities. Remember: Time, Space, People, Place (see newsletter #8).
The next very important step is ramping up the Contact Tracing System (Test, Trace & Treat). California Connected is our state’s contact tracing program. It is simple and anonymous and powerful. If you test positive, you submit the names of people you may have exposed to the virus, and they get contacted and tested. If any one of them test positive, the cycle repeats. Much easier on all of us if only the tested positive people are quarantined rather than everyone. The more people who participate — by answering the call — the more lives and jobs California saves and the quicker we can move on to Phase 4. I really do want to start dancing again and going to movies! Hang in there. It is just going to keep getting better!
Dr. Hansen and Her Marvelously Talented Team 🙂
May 26, 2020 (Newsletter #8)
I trust that you are all healthy and happy and wise. 😊 Just want to start off on a little riff on wearing a mask, or not.* Food for thought:
|Sick With COVID-19||Talking|
|YOU||Your Risk of Getting Sick|
|No Mask||→→→→→||Mask||= 70% very scary|
|Mask||→→→→→||No Mask||= 5% amazing!!!|
|Mask||→→→→→||Mask||= 1.5% perfect 😊|
This is why everyone needs to wear a mask, because a person can have COVID-19 and not know it. Wearing a mask is respectful of others. It says, “I care.”
*Face Masks Against COVID-19: An Evidence Review Howard, J.; Huang, A.; Li, Z.; Tufekci, Z.; Zdimal, V.; van der Westhuizen, H.; von Delft, A.; Price, A.; Fridman, L.; Tang, L.; Tang, V.; Watson, G.L.; Bax, C.E.; Shaikh, R.; Questier, F.; Hernandez, D.; Chu, L.F.; Ramirez, C.M.; Rimoin, A.W.. Preprints 2020, 2020040203 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202004.0203.v1).
Like I said in last week’s newsletter, we are all looking forward to getting back to work and getting all of you back on track with your professional cleanings and other nonemergency dental treatment (who truly wants to wait until they are having pain and suffering from their teeth before getting things fixed?). We have everything in place to keep you all protected from us and each other.
Yet the two absolutely biggest parts of this equation you are in control of:
- 1) Wear your mask when in public spaces, including ours.
- 2) Phone us to reschedule your appointment if you are NOT feeling healthy!!!!
If you (or us) don’t come in sick, we cannot spread it to others. That is the best infection control move EVER! Thank you for your help. We greatly appreciate the sacrifice everyone gives to always wear a mask. I personally hate wearing a mask but will continue to wear it until there is a vaccine or a viable treatment for COVID-19 or we have herd immunity (hopefully, not forever).
Let’s talk about summer fun and staying safe, sane and healthy. First, two rules of thumb (love that, I have a few of my own in regard to cats, but I digress).
“The more time you spend and the closer in space you are to any infected people, the higher your risk. Interacting with more people raises your risk, and indoor places are riskier than outdoors.” Dr. William Miller, an epidemiologist at Ohio State University.
“Always choose outdoors over indoor, always choose masking over not masking and always choose more space for fewer people over a smaller space.” Dr. Emily Landon, an infectious diseases specialist at University of Chicago Medicine.
From Camping to Dining Out: Here’s How Experts Rate the Risks of 14 Summer Activities. https://www.npr.org/sections/healthshots/2020/05/23/861325631/from-camping-to-dining-out-heres-how-experts-ratethe-risks-of-14-summer-activities
May 18, 2020 (Newsletter #7)
Congratulations to everyone for doing such a great job social distancing and wearing your masks. It is a relief to start Phase II of reopening our county. I think even for us introverts this social distancing is messing with our sanity. 🙂 We are excited about reopening on June 1! I know other dentists have opened today, but as you know, it has been difficult finding N95 masks, hand sanitizer and other necessary PPE.
Like I promised you, this newsletter is about what we are doing to keep you safe and healthy. We will continue to do all the infection control protocols we have been doing for years to protect you from bloodborne pathogens. Now we have expanded what we do to include an airborne virus.
You will notice a few things different. There are only three chairs in the reception room, spaced six feet apart. There is hand sanitizer everywhere! We are staggering dental appointments so we can maintain social distancing at the front desk, hallways and reception room. All surfaces in the front office, reception area and bathroom are wiped down every hour. Each room in the office has a HEPA filter, which filters the air four times an hour.
In the back office, the doors to the operatories will be closed during dental treatment (real doors in my room, shower curtains for the hygiene rooms), to contain any aerosol missed with our high-speed evacuation system. After the procedure is completed and you are escorted to the front, the room will remain closed for 30 minutes to allow any aerosols to settle and for the HEPA filter to do its job. Then, we will go in and disinfect all the surfaces, and the room will be ready for the next patient. I have hired a new assistant to help us in keeping everything disinfected and flowing smoothly.
If you arrive really early for your appointment, please wait in your car. Please text or phone us when you arrive. We will let you know if for any reason we are running behind. Come into the office five to 10 minutes prior to your appointment. We will be taking your temperature and will ask you a few questions before seating you for your treatment.
The biggest part of keeping this disease from spreading is to treat only healthy, noninfected patients. So come in if you are feeling well. If you have any doubts, please reschedule. We all appreciate your commitment to everyone’s health.
May 12, 2020 (Newsletter #6): I need your help.
We are excited to be able to reopen the office on June 1. My staff and I will be doing everything possible to keep you safe and healthy when you come in for your dental appointments. I will let you know more in detail of what we will be doing for you in my next newsletter. But without all of you helping us, that may not be enough. This is about what you can do for us and the other patients who have appointments after you.
It has been estimated that 25% of people (or more) may have Covid-19 without any symptoms or be a carrier of the virus. What that means is that 1 out of every 4 people could possibly infect you or you could be infecting others. With our infection control protocol, we treat every patient as if they are infected, which protects all of us. But there are many ways that you can help protect us and other patients.
Please continue to wear your mask when you go out in public, your social distancing and hand washing. If you don’t you could come into my office infectious and possibly infect us and others. If you have not been social distancing or wearing a mask in public for the 2 weeks prior to your appointment, please call and reschedule your appointment to a time when you have done that. We greatly appreciate you doing the activities that keep us all safe and healthy.
If 14 days prior to your appointment you have been in contact with a sick person who was coughing, sneezing, had difficulty breathing, had a fever or flu-like symptoms, please phone us and we will reschedule your appointment. If you are running a low-grade fever (100*F) or are not feeling well, or are coughing or sneezing, have shortness of breath or flu-like symptoms, please reschedule your appointment to 3 days after you have no fever without medication and are healthy.
Two days prior to your appointment we will be asking you similar questions to determine if you need to be rescheduled. Please be honest. We would rather you reschedule than take the chance that you are infectious. When you arrive for your appointment, we will repeat the same questions and take your temperature. If it is over 99.9*F you will be rescheduled.
We request that you wear a mask the entire time you are in the office except when we need to remove it for your dental treatment. If you forget your mask, we will provide you one. There will be hand sanitizer throughout the office. Please sanitize your hands upon entry. If you bring anyone with you, please have them wait for you in the car. The only exceptions are one parent per one child or a caregiver of an adult patient. We are staggering appointments to be able to maintain social distancing within our office.
We also request that you notify us immediately if you get sick within 2 weeks of your appointment. All of us working together will continue to help protect the most vulnerable among us. I thank you for that. We are all looking forward to seeing everyone and hearing your lockdown stories. Stay safe, sane and healthy.
Dr. Hansen and her Absolutely Fantabulous Team
May 4, 2020 (Newsletter #5): Reopening Information
We hope this email finds you and your family in good health. We all have been through a lot over the last few months and we are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines (eventually😊). While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our constant commitment to your safety.
As you have surely seen during your visits to our office, infection control has always been a top priority for our practice. Our strict processes have consistently made the care you receive here both safe and comfortable. We are delaying our opening until June 1st in order to have all the necessary PPE and other infection control protocols in place to protect everyone: you and us.
Our office follows the infection control recommendations made by the ADA®, the CDC and OSHA. We continue to closely monitor the recommendations if we need to change our infection control protocol. For your protection, ALL hard surfaces in the office are wiped down hourly with appropriate sanitizing wipes.
When it is time for your next appointment, you will see some changes, along with our already strict infection control protocols. For example:
- Our office will communicate with you ahead of your appointment to ask some screening questions. You’ll be asked those same questions again when you are in the office and your temperature taken.
- Do not come to an appointment if you are not feeling well, if you have been exposed to someone who is sick, if you are coughing or sneezing, or if you have a low grade temperature (over 99.9).
- When entering the office, we will ask you to use hand sanitizer, which we will supply.
- If you arrive without a mask, we will give you one which you will need to wear in all areas of the office except in the dental chair.
- You may see that our reception area will no longer offer magazines, children’s toys and other items which cannot be properly disinfected. You are encouraged to bring your own iPad, reading materials, etc. Or you may ask for one which will have been sanitized prior to your use.
- Should you choose, you may wait in your car and be texted when we are ready to bring you directly to the treatment room.
- Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. That might mean that you’re offered slightly limited options for scheduling your appointment.
- We will do our best to reduce waiting times for you, as well as to reduce the number of patients in the office at any one time.
- We are limiting the first appointments of the day and the first appointments after lunch for our older patients or those who have medical issues, especially people with lung disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, auto-immune diseases or people who are diabetic.
- We will continue to inform you about the additional steps we are taking to keep you healthy.
We look forward to seeing you again and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we take to keep you, and every patient, safe and healthy in our practice. To make an appointment, please call our office 760-940-0366.
Thank you for being our patient. We value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming back our patients, neighbors and friends in the safest way possible.
We care about all of you.
Dr. Hansen and Her Stupendous Team
To all my healthy and (hopefully) happy patients,
We all now have had weeks of perfecting our “social distancing” and all the stuff we wear to protect ourselves and others when we do go to the grocery store. My sis told me she looks crazy in her “homemade” hazmat suit. She wears her long coat with boots and a hat, and gloves, goggles and a mask. When she gets home, she chucks it all in the garage and then takes a shower. I am sure all of us have variations on this. Wearing a mask protects others from us. And when we wash or disinfect our hands (and don’t touch our face) we protect ourselves from others. Every little bit helps keep us and those around us healthy.
When we compare COVID-19 to the annual flu, we can get a little bit complacent. The flu and COVID-19 have similar symptoms, but the latter is far deadlier. But it isn’t the flu, which we have vaccinations for, but a totally new virus which no one has immunity against. This coronavirus is five to 10 times more deadly than the flu for those between the ages of 0 and 45. It is 12 1/2 times more deadly than the flu for those over 85. COVID-19 is not only more contagious and deadly, it can cause strokes in the 30-45 year old range, and permanent lung scaring. All the more reason to continue our keeping healthy practices until we have a vaccination.
I have been listening to a fascinating book that was written in 2012 about how diseases can “jump” from an animal host to a human one. It is called “Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic” by David Quammen. I have included the review because I won’t be able to do it justice. Right now, we are living what he predicted. My wish for all of you is to stay safe, healthy and sane.
“… (He) schools us in the fascinating if alarming facts about zoonotic diseases, animal infections that sicken humans, such as rabies, Ebola, influenza, and West Nile. Zoonoses can escalate rapidly into global pandemics when human-to-human transmission occurs, and Quammen wants us to understand disease dynamics and exactly what’s at stake. . . Quammen explains how devilishly difficult it is to trace the origins of a zoonosis and explicates the hidden process by which pathogens spill over from their respective reservoir hosts (water fowl, mosquitoes, pigs, bats, monkeys) and infect humans … Zoonotic diseases are now on the rise due to our increasing population, deforestation, fragmented ecosystems, and factory farming. Quammen spent six years on this vital, in-depth tour de force in the hope that knowledge will engender preparedness. An essential work.” –Donna Seaman
Good Day to all my amazingly patient patients!!
I think all of us are going a bit hut nutty!! Work, work, work makes Jack (and Jill) dull beyond belief, but the challenge now is how to incorporate enough FUN in our lives when we can’t actually hang out (in person, closer than 6’) with family and friends. My daughter is having virtual happy hours with friends, watching movies with her boyfriend (she’s in Seattle, he is in San Diego), and going on walks with me (which I love — we get an hour of chatting in). She’s doing much better with the fun stuff than I am.
My sister asked me what was good about this enforced staycation. And I, being a grumpy puss, said nothing!!! She then gently reminded me of the dramatic decrease of pollution worldwide, the extra time we have to connect with people we care about, the time we have to clear our clutter, and actual time we can spend with ourselves to get clear on what we want and where we are going when this is all over. She is right (she is always right, she’s my big sister). So, even though, in general, I am a glass half full kind of gal, I am committed to being a glass ¾ full instead.
I don’t know if you have heard about Captain Tom Moore of England. When he was 99, he had a goal of raising 1000£ by his 100th birthday by walking laps in his garden. He has raised over $42 Million for the National Health Service!! And he is still walking. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8PDlgCyMZ4
Now, most of us probably would have a hard time raising that kind of money walking circles in our yard, but there are things we can do to help others that are in need. If you have any extra money, you can donate it to the San Diego Food Bank to help families in need. https://sandiegofoodbank.org/. Or to the San Diego Humane Society. Due to this pandemic, there is urgent need for people to foster animals. If you have the time and inclination, this is another great way to give back https://www.sdhumane.org/support-us/volunteer/foster/
As of right now, I plan on reopening the office June 1st. Being able to open earlier is dependent on too many variables to be able to decide right now. Because of that, we are canceling appointments in May one week at a time. You will receive a text or a phone call. I am available by phone every day between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. for you to talk with me about your concerns or dental issues. I am also coming in for pain/swelling emergencies. Stay safe and healthy and SANE!!!!
I trust that even though this social distancing is driving all of us a bit bonkers, that we are doing it diligently. I, for one, miss the multiple hugs I would get throughout the day. I am looking forward to being able to do that simple act sometime in the near future. Right now, the office will be closed through the end of April. We will be contacting you to reschedule your appointment.
I am working hard on systems to keep you and us safe when the office reopens. With that in mind, the first appointment of the day and the first one after lunch are reserved for patients over 65 or those who have medical conditions that make them more vulnerable.
This can be a great time to make your mind stronger and develop good habits to avoid Alzheimer’s in the future. Go to https://www.lumosity.com/en/ for oodles of brain games to challenge yourself. And if you always wanted to learn how to meditate, now is the time. Go to https://www.headspace.com/. It’s a very gentle and easy way to learn mindfulness and at the same time reduce your anxiety, if you have any.
Even though we are being deluged with all the negative bits about this Corona Curse, there is lots of good news. Go to https://tanksgoodnews.com/ and you will find scads of feel-good stories. In fact, I bet you have a few to tell yourself. Please share them on my Facebook Fan page. We need to focus on the stories that make us feel good because that reduces cortisol (the stress hormone) and releases serotonin (the relaxing, feel-good hormone).
As of April 13, according to https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/, of the patients currently infected, only 4% are serious or critical. Here in California, we are flattening the curve, which allows hospitals to have enough resources to treat the critical cases. Yay, California!!!
Are you symptomatic? If you are unable to get tested via your personal healthcare provider, call 2-1-1. The nursing team will determine if whether you are eligible for testing. If so, someone will contact you to schedule a test.
Live long and prosper.
Dr. Hansen and Her Fabulous Crew
Hi to all my amazingly resilient patients!! We certainly have to be in this relentlessly changing landscape we are living in right now.
Now more than ever, we need to focus on what is good in our lives. Every day, make a list of 10 things you are grateful for and get into the feeling place of that gratitude. And limit your news intake if you want to reduce your stress levels. Don’t forget to breathe!! Breathe in deeply for four counts, hold for two, out for four (four times) and be aware of your breath moving through your body. This stimulates the vagus nerve and reduces stress. I will post the 3-Part Breath to reduce anxiety and quiet the mind on our Facebook Fan page.
As you know, my office is closed temporarily for your safety and ours. I am available for emergency treatment. Please phone the office number if you have any questions or concerns. All calls are forwarded to my cell. I will be closed for the month of April and my staff will be contacting you to reschedule your appointments. Thank you for your understanding and patience.
The following is an excellent, fun video on how to wash your hands and do social distancing. https://youtu.be/7kt06_cXPvY
It has recently been recommended that all of us wear some sort of face covering when we go to public places. Here is a link to how to make three different kinds. One requires no sewing, just a T-shirt, scissors and rubber bands.
I know many of us not only enjoy shopping for clothes but are also cleaning out our clothes closets. Thredup is an online consignment/thrift store. It is amazing. My daughter and I love them. They will also accept clothes on consignment. Check them out. May be a way to get a few bucks.
My wish for all of us is that we all continue to support each other and reflect on our lives and where we really want to go with them. Have a wonderful week!