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Research finds 3.1% COVID-19 infection rate among US dental hygienists

ADA, American Dental Hygienists' Association partner to study pandemic's impact on hygienists     

An estimated 3.1% of U.S. dental hygienists had contracted COVID-19 as of October 2020, according to research from the American Dental Association and American Dental Hygienists' Association.

Their infection rate aligns with the cumulative infection rate among dentists, and compared with other groups, dental hygienists had a higher rate than the general U.S. population, whose rate was 2.3% at the time of the survey, and a lower rate than nondental health care workers.

The associations partnered for two studies, one examining hygienists' infection rates and infection control practices related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the other looking at their employment patterns. Both studies are based on hygienists' responses during the first month of an ongoing survey from the associations.

This joint research effort is the first large-scale collection and publication of data related to the impact of COVID-19 on U.S. hygienists, and both studies will be published Feb. 24 by The Journal of Dental Hygiene

"We were pleased to collaborate with the ADA on this research that takes a closer look at the impact of the pandemic on the dental team," American Dental Hygienists' Association CEO Ann Battrell said. "The low infection rate shows us we can provide oral health care in a safe manner, which is critically important since the safety of dental hygienists and the patients they serve is of the utmost importance to ADHA and the dental hygiene profession."