Under new California policy, health care workers must show proof of being vaccinated or undergo regular testing for the COVID-19 virus.

The details on how dental practices will comply, and who will conduct and pay for testing, are still being figured out. Yet, the policy took effect Aug. 9.

The California Dental Association welcomes the new health and safety measures, but also urges state lawmakers to give clear guidance on new requirements, particularly testing.

Clarity can go a long way as dental practices and their patients continue to face complications that have only been made more difficult throughout the pandemic. With work shortages and reduced patient access, the association advocates for policy specifics on testing requirements.

Any changes must protect current dental workforce levels and not disrupt patient care.

The conversation around how the changes will be implemented are ongoing but the dental industry supports the principle behind the latest health policy.

As the state experiences a resurgence of virus spread, including the highly infectious delta variant, the order requires health care workers and dental professionals to take further steps to enhance public health and safety.

In late July, COVID-19 cases more than quadrupled, underscoring the importance of further worker and patient protections.

Dental employers are required to verify that their staff members are fully vaccinated or virus-free by being regularly tested.

While the policy is already in effect, full compliance is not required until Aug. 23.

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