COVID-19 incidence rates among Canadian dentists as they return to work: a cohort study

3D medical animation coronavirus structure / CC BY-SA

Purpose of the study:

The purpose of the study is to estimate the incidence rate of COVID-19 among dentists and its risk associated with the use of aerosol-generating procedures (AGP) and N95 masks, through the phased reopening of dental care services across different jurisdictions in Canada.

Description of the research:

The study will follow a group of Canadian dentists for a period of 12 months. First, the participants will be invited to complete an online baseline survey. Three domains of information will be collected at this stage: i) Socio-demographics and comorbidities; ii) details of dental care provided to patients in the previous week (Clinical activity form); iii) symptoms related to COVID-19 and infection status (Outcome form). After this initial survey, we will invite a subset of participants to the follow-up phase of the study. At this follow-up phase, we will contact the participants every 4 weeks to enquire if there were diagnosed with COVID-19 at the time or not. Because dental care provision will likely evolve as the pandemic develops, we will also ask participants to complete the Clinical Activity Form and Outcome Form every 4 weeks after the initial survey for 12 months. To accurately detect infection with the novel coronavirus, we will ask the participants to self-collect a small quantity of saliva (less than 2 ml) using a simple swab collection kit provided by us. The samples must then be shipped to the Salivary Proteomics Research Laboratory (SPRL) at College of Dentistry, University of Saskatchewan, using the prepaid shipping envelopes we provide. The whole collection procedure will take 5 to 10 minutes. At SPRL, the samples will be tested for the presence of novel coronavirus-2019. This process of collecting saliva and testing will be repeated every 4 weeks for a period of 12 months. At each testing round, the results of the test will be communicated to participants through their preferred route (e.g. telephone, email).