What Is COVID-19?

Novel Coronavirus

COVID-19 is impacting society in an unprecedented manner, and it’s changing the way that we live. For months, people have not been able to travel, enjoy fun activities, or see family members. It’s important now, as restrictions start to lift, to remember that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over and that social distancing measures are still necessary for society’s well-being. Today, we’re going to go over what COVID-19 is, how it spreads, and why it is still so dangerous!

What Is COVID-19?


COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown previously, and the outbreak began in December 2019. It is caused by a novel coronavirus, which belongs to a large family of viruses that may cause illness in humans or animals. Several of these coronaviruses have been known to cause respiratory illnesses in humans, ranging from the common cold to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)


Being a relatively new virus, not much is known about COVID-19, which is why it is so dangerous. There is no known vaccine for COVID-19 yet.


The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Other symptoms that are less common and may affect some patients include aches and pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually.


The current estimate is that most people (~80%) will recover from the diseases without needing hospital treatment. However, 1 out of every five people can become seriously ill and require hospitalization for breathing problems. However, anyone can catch COVID-19 and become seriously sick or spread it to those with underlying risk factors.


Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart and lung problems, diabetes, or cancer, are at higher risk of developing a serious illness.


However, anyone can catch COVID-19 and become seriously ill or spread it to those with underlying risk factors.


How COVID-19 Spreads


COVID-19 is an airborne virus, and it transfers when an infected person coughs or sneezes. When air particles from an infected person enter another person’s system, it allows the virus to attack. Therefore, close and prolonged contact with another person puts you at risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. An asymptomatic person can spread the virus simply by talking, in close quarters, to another person.


COVID-19 is extremely contagious and difficult to treat – our bodies do not have the proper antibodies to fight against it. This puts the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems, at an increased risk for a serious or fatal illness.



Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 At Pacific Coast Oral & Maxillofacial Solutions


Knowing how dangerous COVID-19 is to those at risk, it is our priority to ensure that we minimize the spread of the virus.


Our goal is to continue providing the best patient care possible while safeguarding our team, ourselves, and our greater community.


Our surgical facility and our use of personal protective equipment (PPE) have always exceeded the requirements from our College, WorkSafe BC, and the BC Centre of Disease Control. As one of the Emergency Clinics with enhanced PPE, we have been treating all urgent and emergent cases throughout the forced office closures due to Covid-19 that has affected dental practices.


Therefore, rest assured that we are well prepared to continue to treat you during these difficult times. We have developed several precautions and measures to ensure your safety, staff safety, and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Due to the fluid nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, these additional guidelines and protocols are continually being re-evaluated.


We have made many changes to our office to ensure that your experience at Pacific Coast Oral & Maxillofacial Solutions is a safe one.


The changes include new ways of scheduling your appointments, new screening processes, limiting the number of patients for physical distancing safeguards, and utilizing enhanced personal protective equipment.


Everywhere you go, you must adhere to social distancing to maintain safety. Our large office plan gives us the ability to maintain safe physical distancing between staff and the patients. As well, we have new scheduling protocols to limit the number of patients at a time and ensure safe physical distancing. There are also maximum occupancy standards throughout all the different rooms, in accordance with WorkSafe BC standards.


All our surgical operatories and consultation rooms are in enclosed spaces. We also utilize enhanced ambient air management by increasing air exchange per hour in the operatories.


We have also taken steps to screen our staff and our patients for the virus. If you come in for an appointment, you will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, etc. We recommend using a self-assessment tool for COVID-19, such as the one on the website https://bc.thrive.health/covid19/en.


We have also removed all non-essential items from the reception area and operatories, thereby reducing our “touch points” and reinforcing our already robust infection control measures through frequent cleaning and sanitizing all office areas.


Lastly, we do always require a mask to be worn by all patients upon entering the office. If you do not have one, we will provide you with a mask. There is also a hand sanitizer for you to use immediately upon entry.


We have to adhere to the indications for your particular procedure and prioritize patient care services during a pandemic. Our doctors will review the benefits, risks and alternatives regarding your specific surgical procedure, taking into account the anticipated benefits of such procedure and weighing it against the risks of COVID-19 to you and the greater community.


Should I come to the office?


Those who have the following symptoms or respiratory illness should not come to our office:

  • Fever, cough, shortness of breath or have any symptoms on the self-assessment screening forms or tools
  •  OR
  • Travelled outside of Canada within 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms
  •  OR
  • Close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19
  •  OR
  • Other potentially relevant exposure is close contact with someone who was ill and had travelled outside of Canada in the 14 days before the onset of symptoms.


If you meet any of the criteria above, please contact your dentist to be assessed by phone. Please contact HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 to be evaluated for testing, and/or call ahead to your primary health care provider or walk-in clinic and arrange for assessment by medical staff.


COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our everyday lives, and unfortunately, it may be a while before we can go back to how things were. However, following the right measures put in place by health officials, we can help flatten the curve. We’re all responsible for each other’s health – let’s work together to reduce the spread of COVID-19!

What Is COVID-19?