AUSTIN — Just hours before Texas dentists could resume providing nonemergency care, the state dental board late Thursday required that advanced surgical masks be worn within six feet of patients to capture “aerosols” that might carry the novel coronavirus.
However, the licensing board ignored a dental hygienist group’s plea that routine visits be delayed further, until at least May 18.
After prodding from Gov. Greg Abbott, the State Board of Dental Examiners hastily approved a revised emergency rule that, starting at 12:01 a.m. Friday, allows dental offices to resume elective procedures and surgeries and non-urgent care.
That assumes Abbott’s office signed off on the final version. It could not be determined late Thursday if that would happen.
The rewritten rule continues to go against the federal Centers on Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation that because dental care is risky in the age of COVID-19, all nonemergency procedures and surgeries should be postponed indefinitely.