Managing the Second Wave
With record numbers of COVID-19 cases being recorded daily in Alberta, the College would like to remind you of the resources at your disposal to keep yourselves, colleagues and clients safe while continuing to provide appropriate oral healthcare services.

Back in March when Alberta was in the first wave, very little was known about the COVID-19 virus, how it transmitted, or the amount of risk to clients in dental settings. The CRDHA Council made the decision to follow its legislative authority and strongly recommended the suspension of oral health services for the safety of clients and practitioners. This decision was also made by every dental hygiene regulatory college across Canada.

During this second wave, the number of COVID-positive patients are much higher in Alberta, but we are also more educated about how to reduce the risk of transmission. The College has been working very closely with Alberta Health throughout this pandemic, monitoring transmission rates in dental practices, and following the guidance from our government. If additional restrictions of healthcare services are required, Alberta Health will be providing that direction to all regulatory colleges.

Yesterday, Premier Jason Kenney declared a state of public health emergency and put into effect new mandatory measures to stop the spike in cases.

All regulated health professionals, including dental hygienists, can continue to care for their clients, but by appointment only.

Registered dental hygienists must also follow the Joint Guidelines, Dental Practice Guidelines During the COVID-19 Pandemic, which came into effect August 1. 

Nasopharyngeal Swabbing - Ministerial Exemption
As per the Government Organization Act, the activity to insert or remove instruments, devices, fingers or hands beyond the point in the nasal passages where they normally narrow” is deemed a restricted activity which is not included as part of the Dental Hygienist Professional Regulations [Government Organization Act, Schedule 7.1, Section 2(1)(b)(ii)]. 

However, the College wishes to inform you that Dental Hygienists regulated by the College of Registered Dental Hygienists of Alberta (CRDHA) have been granted authorization by the Minister of Health to perform nasopharyngeal (NP) swabbing for the purposes of testing for COVID-19, as per Ministerial Order (M.O.) 645/2020. 

The following terms and conditions (as per M.O. 645/2020) apply to authorized persons who perform this Advanced Restricted Activity

  • An authorized person may only perform the activity authorized by this Ministerial Order for the purpose of nasopharyngeal swabbing.
  • An authorized person may only perform the activity authorized by this Ministerial Order once they have successfully completed training which has been approved by Alberta Health Services.
  • An authorized person may only perform the activity authorized by this Ministerial Order once they have met any other criteria required by the employer they are employed by. 
  • An authorized person must obtain permission to perform the activity by their regulated profession. 
  • An authorized person is subject to any standards of practice, guidelines or policies imposed by their regulated profession. 

At this time, additional steps are required before RDHs will be permitted to perform this Advanced Restricted Activity. You are currently NOT permitted to perform this Advanced Restricted Activity.
Do You Need PPE?
The Government of Canada created Essential Services Contingency Reserve (ESCR). Eligible essential service businesses or organizations may apply to the ESCR to receive PPE, non-medical masks and disinfection products to address urgent, short‑term needs. The ESCR also complements existing PPE support being provided to frontline health care workers by the Public Health Agency of Canada.