I hope everyone is doing well out there.
We’ve been lucky. Despite my father and I working in dentistry (he’s the dentist), nobody in our office has gotten sick. Anton, whose role is Infectious Disease Coordinator at the hospital, is okay. My sister in pediatrics has fared well, too. One of our cousins and her two kids contracted COVID-19 but weren’t hospitalized; an older niece who’s a flight attendant caught it early on but she’s recovered now, too.
A local dental specialist and their hygienist contracted it and had to shut down a while back. Patients call now and then to report their exposure to COVID-19, testing, and results in order to keep us informed. Our office had a moment when dental offices were closing all around us and we all exchanged wide-eyed glances, saying nothing because we all felt the same way. Like COVID-19 was closing in.
I’m responsible for medical supply procurement in our office and, let me tell you, buying supplies is crazy. PPE and infection control products are regularly sold out, on back order, or just not coming ever. I periodically check in with our dental supply company reps to see what’s changed. The rep said they have no surgical masks in any brand (they have a few procedure masks, though) and the manufacturers have been unable to issue a date that they expect to have more products available for distributors.
For medical grade surface disinfectants, I can only find spray (the expensive kind, of course; and not in 24oz or 1 gallon refill, which led us to purchasing 5 gallons of the expensive stuff; yes, it’s a great product and it’s gonna last us probably through the end of the year because we’re a small operation but, dang, it hits small guys like us in the bank account). I magically found a company with surface wipes but they didn’t have any 120-count packs, only 75-count envelopes (which are pricier), and could only sell 3 per office per week until supplies run out. One sales rep compared the situation to a game show, where the lucky caller gets the prize if an item happens to come in when they call.
Getting gloves is impossible. We legit buy 2 boxes every few weeks when we can. We already had face shields before all this started so that’s something, I guess.
Delivery times are unreliable and sometimes really drawn out which makes it a little nuts. We have to order well ahead of time because we don’t know when our shipments are coming, when half the items are on backorder anyway. Sometimes a UPS guy shows up with a box and I draw a mental blank, accept the box, and think, “What the heck did I order?” The assistant and I open surprise dental supply boxes like it’s Christmas (Us: “OMG yay! Base wax and headrest covers!!), as we wonder what was finally in stock.
So, literally, we’ll care for our patients until one of us gets sick or we run out of supplies. What a mess. I feel like this whole year has been one long week (my sense of time is all warped) and every day refuses to be Friday!
How are you guys doing?