Dental hygienists and clients should be aware that Alberta Health has updated the rules around masking and exceptions for medical conditions. Masks remain mandatory in all indoor public places and indoor workplaces unless you qualify for an exception.
As of May 13, 2021, Albertans who are unable to wear a mask due to a medical condition will require a medical exception letter from an authorized health professional. According to the new provincial rules, the medical exception letter must come from a nurse practitioner, physician or psychologist. The letter may be presented when in a public setting if requested by enforcement officials, or retrospectively in court if a ticket is issued.
"This letter is important to have, especially if requested by enforcement officials for not complying with the legal requirement to wear a mask in indoor public spaces," said Chief Medical Office of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.
According to the new rules, health conditions for exceptions to masking include:
- Sensory processing disorders
- Developmental delay
- Cognitive impairment
- Mental illnesses including:
- anxiety disorders;
- psychotic disorders;
- dissociative identity disorder;
- depressive disorders
- Facial trauma or recent oral maxillofacial surgery
- Contact dermatitis or allergic reactions to mask components
- Clinically significant acute respiratory distress
Masks are just one preventative measure in the fight against COVID-19. Continue physical distancing and good hand hygiene, and stay home when sick.