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TORONTO, Ontario, CANADA: The Ontario Dental Association has announced cancellation of its Annual Spring Meeting “in light of growing concerns for participants and public health,” due to the spread of the coronavirus. The meeting had been scheduled for May 7–9 in Toronto.
A statement posted on the Annual Spring Meeting website stated: “The decision to cancel the ASM for this year was not taken lightly, given the many people who would be impacted, but the health and safety of our attendees, exhibitors, staff, volunteers and the public was first and foremost in our minds. We will be offering full refunds to all event attendees. It will take us some time to sort out how and when refunds will be processed. Please bear with us as we deal with all the logistic challenges. It may take us some time to get this information out.”
The full statement can be seen at asm.oda.ca/important-updates.
JDIQ: 'No decision has yet been made'
The 50th Journées dentaires internationales du Québec (JDIQ), scheduled for Mary 29 through June 2 in Montréal, is still planning to hold the event, but has set up a “special monitoring unit” to work with the public health authorities on any final decision as the meeting dates draw nearer.
An update on the JDIQ meeting websites explains that because “the date of the JDIQ is still far away and given that the situation may change by that date, no decision has yet been made.” The meeting organizers report that its monitoring unit is working with authorities such as the ministry of Health and Social Services and the Public Health directorate.
The Order of Dentists of Quebec website has a notice stating: “The Order has closed its offices, while maintaining its remote services, a measure that will remain in effect until Friday, March 27, inclusive. Consequently, the Order team will remotely maintain services, with response times that may vary from the usual times.”
See the full statement and other details on the meeting website. The website also features prominent links to coronavirus resources applicable to dental practices.
Dental practices following provincial/territory guidelines
Dental practices across Canada are adopting guidelines issued by provincial/territory health authorities. Typically, these guidelines are prompting practices to see only emergency patients, with all elective procedures postponed for at least 14 days from Monday, March 16.
As of March 19, the Government of Canada website was reporting the majority of confirmed COVID-19 cases as being in Ontario (257), British Columbia (231), Alberta (119) and Quebec (94), with far fewer being reported in other provinces.
The Canadian Dental Association website has posted the following: “In all circumstances, dentists take infection prevention and control practices seriously and understand their social responsibility to contain the spread of COVID-19. While science provides solid recommendations about what dentists should do, advice needs to reflect provincial as well as local contexts. Therefore, the Canadian Dental Association suggests that dentists licensed to practise in Canada consult the website and communiqués of the dental regulatory body in their province/territory, as well as the website and communiqués of their provincial/territory dental association. Provincial government health-care websites across the country are posting similar COVID-19 response guidelines for health-care providers, including dental professionals.
PDC attendees directed to self-isolate
British Columbia health authorities on March 16 announced that four dental-conference attendees at the Pacific Dental Conference were confirmed cases of COVID 19 and required all attendees of the meeting to self-isolate until Sunday, March 22. The PDC meeting organizers had been working closely with local and provincial health authorities prior to and during the meeting, which was held March 5–6. The latest updates for PDC meeting attendees are available at https://www.pdconf.com/ncs2020/. The full March 16 statement from the British Columbia Dental Association can be accessed here: BCDA Statement on COVID-19 and the Pacific Dental Conference.
(Sources: ODA, JDIQ, PDC)