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COVID-19 (May 29)

Phase 1 of Ontario’s re-opening framework continues.  The Ontario government extended all emergency orders in force under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to June 9th. These emergency orders include restrictions such as the closure of outdoor playgrounds and structures, public swimming pools and outdoor water facilities, and restaurants with the exception of takeout and delivery. Restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people, and staff redeployment rules remain in place for long-term care homes and congregate settings like retirement homes and women’s shelters. This is also the order that closed the ODHA office and keeps it closed with staff working remotely. ODHA is looking forward to returning to the office when permitted to do so.

On May 26th the Chief Medical Officer of Health issued a new Directive 2 permitting the gradual restart of health services for the people of Ontario, based on a reduction of COVID-19 activity.  Directive 2 applies to Regulated Health Professionals or persons who operate a Group Practice of Regulated Health Professionals. Key points to note:

  • All deferred and non-essential and elective services carried out by health-care providers may be gradually restarted subject to the requirements as set out in COVID-19 Operations Requirements: Health Sector Restart (May 26, 2020 or as current).

  • Health-care providers must consider which services should continue to be provided remotely (online, by telephone or other virtual means) and which services can safely resume in-person with appropriate hazard controls and sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE). This should be guided by best clinical evidence.

  • Health-care providers must also adhere to the guidance provided by their applicable health regulatory college. Ontario dental hygienists receive this guidance from the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario

The release of Directive 2 demonstrates the Ontario government understands the need to gradually open the province’s health care system while considering COVID-19 is still a threat. Health-care providers are being trusted to do the right thing and exercise their professional judgement in the provision of care, ensuring compliance with government operational requirements, regulatory requirements, and Public Health Ontario requirements.
 
It is important to note Directive 2 is permissive and not a requirement. Practices should not open if all the requirements cannot be met.
 
Follow all proper procedures, keep all activity well documented, and retain all records. If a client subsequently tests positive, whether it was related to an oral health visit or not, the tracing work undertaken by public health may result in a visit to the practice, including an assessment of practice procedures.

ODHA is working with the oral health regulators and associations, providing a voice for Ontario dental hygienists. Ultimately, the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario (CDHO)  provides the guidance, expectations and requirements for the profession. The guidance is now posted on the CDHO website. ODHA will continue to assist members and provide new professional development opportunities to keep Ontario dental hygienists informed.  

ODHA understands the anxieties you may be experiencing, and we are committed to do what is in our capacity to help Ontario dental hygienists return to a safe work environment and reconnect with clients and colleagues.


 

ODHA – We’re Here for You

Service to our members is of paramount importance and staff will continue to be available despite working remotely. The best way to contact ODHA staff is through email ([email protected]). Phone messages are retrieved, and calls returned in a timely manner. We appreciate your patience during this time. Be well, guard your mental and physical health, keep your family close, stay home and check on neighbours and friends (remotely).  

ODHA has been providing ongoing e-mail broadcasts on the global coronavirus situation and through this dedicated COVID-19 page on the ODHA website since January 23, 2020.

ODHA will continue to keep members updated through email broadcasts (which will also be posted) and current information posted to the ODHA website.  At a time when many will take advantage of the uncertainty, ODHA will continue to provide evidence-informed and balanced advice and information.

 

COVID-19 Email Updates

COVID-19 Additional Resources