Jersey City does COVID-19 testing for dental staff reopening office for dire situations

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The City of Jersey City provided COVID-19 testing for dental staff reopening their office at 846 Bergen Ave. for patients with dire circumstances that require immediate treatment.

“We are urgent care only, meaning we are only addressing the patients that have been waiting since March the 19th due to a toothache, due to infection, due to swelling in their faces, or cause their fillings have broken down,” Jersey Arts Dental Office Manager Janeth Guevara said this afternoon.

She said their office opened last week for a trial run, focusing on repurposing and sanitizing the office after conferring with Mayor Steven Fulop and Public Safety Director James Shea.

Dental offices were closed as part of Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) stay-at-home order issued at the end of March, though “emergency procedures,” which have not been defined, were still permitted based on U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

While they are tentatively scheduled to reopen after Memorial Day, on May 26th, Guevara said that teeth that have been compromised can face further deterioration after 30 days.

As a result, her office will begin seeing certain patients again a few days before that.

22 out of her 28 staff have been tested at the office, with three getting tested on their own, and three additional part-timers not able to return to work yet due to home schooling commitments.

Despite being a little ahead of the curve, Guevara indicated that she has not had any law enforcement issues and was as collaborative as possible with city officials before attempting to see patients again.

Other precautionary measures include staff wearing level 3 face masks, face shields, booties, booties, and enforcing social distancing any time when patients aren’t receiving dental care.

Jersey Arts Dental will resume regular hours of operation on June 1st and Shea, who was present this afternoon, said anyone who provides an essential service should reach out to the city so they can help guide them through the process.