New ADA flowchart covers steps if staff, household member test positive for COVID-19

The American Dental Association has updated its Return to Work Interim Guidance Toolkit and released a new flowchart with guidance to follow if a staff member or someone in a staff member’s household tests positive for COVID-19.

Available to ADA members, the flowchart includes steps to take for both the staff member and their co-workers, depending on whether the staff member or a household member is COVID-19 positive. The new resource covers performing staff exposure risk assessments, including what constitutes low-risk versus high-risk contact, as well as implementing self-quarantine, and also describes the return to work strategies for staff who test positive for COVID-19, including both symptom and test-based strategies.


New guidance in the toolkit also discusses protecting staff in private staff areas, such as by adjusting seating to maintain social distancing, staggering break times, and sanitizing contact areas after each use. The guidance advises that staff perform hand hygiene before they enter and after they exit staff areas and also wear masks at all times when in the office, except when impractical.

Other additions to the toolkit include an updated recommended timeline of two days after an appointment for patients to report any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and a link to detailed information for members only on paying staff who are on leave because of COVID-19.

The updated toolkit also includes a link to the Patient Return Resource Center, a suite of patient communication tools only available to members that support dentists and their teams in communicating with patients about what to expect and what they will experience when returning for nonemergency care.

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