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Delta Dental of Washington awarded 13 grants and five advance payments to dentists in Walla Walla County as part of a statewide initiative to financially support independent dental practices that shut down due to COVID-19-related rules.

According to a news release from the dental benefits provider, more than 2,200 small dental practices within its network have had to rely on millions of dollars in assistance provided so far. To date, the company has provided $23.1 million in grants and advance claims payments to dentists in Washington.

The average size of the grants is about $9,420.

The information noted that dental workers have been hit particularly hard during the pandemic by the suspensions of nonemergency dental procedures.

“Dentists are a critical part of our health care system and many are independent small business owners, employing thousands of hygienists, dental assistants and office staff statewide,” Delta Dental CEO Mark Mitchke said in the release. “During this unprecedented time we need to help dental practices in Washington by doing everything we can to ensure these critical healthcare providers can hit the ground running once statewide practice restrictions are lifted.”

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Jedidiah Maynes can be reached at jedidiahmaynes@wwub.com or 509-526-8318.

Jedidiah Maynes is the managing editor of Walla Walla Lifestyles magazine. He also covers local news for the Union-Bulletin and frequently writes about arts and entertainment in Marquee.