DES MOINES, Iowa – An Iowa dental hygienist who kept working while aware she had COVID-19 agreed to pay $100 fine in a settlement with the Iowa Dental Board.
The hygienist also agreed to a five-day suspension and was required to take five hours of classes on infection control and ethics.
The Sac City, Iowa, resident did not respond to multiple interview requests by the Des Moines Register, part of the USA TODAY Network, nor did the two dentists she was working for part-time when she tested positive for COVID-19 on Feb. 1, according to a settlement between the hygienist and the dental board.
She told one dentist of her diagnosis on the day of her test, and apparently followed state requirements that she not return to work at that dentist’s office until 10 days after her positive test.
But she worked at her other hygienist job Feb. 3, according to the agreement the five-member board unanimously approved Aug. 6.
The order did not specify how the board learned of the situation or how many patients may have been exposed, nor did it indicate whether patients she worked on before or after testing positive had been notified.
“We are not able to share any additional information regarding this complaint beyond what is already public,” said Iowa Department of Public Health spokeswoman Sarah Ekstrand.
According to representatives of the two dental practices, the dental hygienist as of this week continued to work at the office of Dr. Bruce Cochrane, but not at that of Dr. Robert Ronconi.
Records do not indicate which dentist the hygienist worked for on Feb. 3 after testing positive.
Follow reporter Daniel Lathrop on Twitter: @lathropd
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