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Ontario health professionals plead for continued masking mandates in high-risk settings

Posted: April 19, 2022

(April 17, 2022)

By: Christian D’Avino, CTV News

Healthcare officials across Ontario are calling on the province to extend its high-risk setting mask mandate past its current expiration date.

Mask mandates in hospitals, long-term care facilities, other health care settings and public transit are set to come down on April 27, as Ontario continues to battle the sixth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Lifting the mask mandates in hospitals, in nursing homes, in other congregate settings, or on public transportation, it would be the most irresponsible action any public health officer can take,” said Dr. Doris Grinspun, the CEO of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO).

Dr. Grinspun said she was disappointed following the Ontario chief medical officer of health’s news conference last week, the first one in over a month.

In that, Dr. Kieran Moore recommended that Ontarians continue to wear masks, but ruled against reinstating a provincial masking mandate.

It comes as hospitalizations for COVID-19 have risen by 66 per cent in the last two weeks.

“The number of cases in long-term care homes is rising, so of course we want the mask mandates to continue,” said Albert Dupuis, a Sault Ste. Marie representative for the Ontario Health Coalition.

“When it comes to the type of masks as well, the cloth of the regular surgical masks probably offers some protection, but probably not in the riskiest of settings. So why are they not mandated? Why are we not protecting, especially the most vulnerable people?”

While Dr. Moore ruled out reinstating a provincial mandate, he added that the province is currently looking to extend masking mandates in high-risk settings past the April 27 deadline.