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Masking 'strongly recommended' in public spaces in Ontario: Moore

Toronto Sun logo Toronto Sun 2022-11-14 Antonella Artuso
Chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore holds a news conference in Toronto, March 9, 2022. Moore has said he would recommend masking in certain indoor settings if hospitals began cancelling surgeries. © Provided by Toronto Sun Chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore holds a news conference in Toronto, March 9, 2022. Moore has said he would recommend masking in certain indoor settings if hospitals began cancelling surgeries.
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The province’s chief medical officer of health is “strongly recommending” that all Ontarians wear masks in all indoor public settings including schools and child care centres.

Dr. Kieran Moore unveiled the Managing Pediatric Respiratory Virus Season plan Monday which advises Ontarians to “get back” to the basics that work – masking, up-to-date vaccines, daily screening for respiratory symptoms, good hand hygiene and staying home if sick.

“We need a reboot, a reminder of what will keep us safe for the rest of the winter season,” Moore said. “This is different from COVID. This is protecting our children.”

Moore stopped short of mandating masking in public spaces but said that could be an option at some point.

“I honestly think a mask mandate would be the furthest we’d have to go,” Moore said.

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While COVID-19 continues to circulate, very young children are being admitted to pediatric ICU beds in increasing numbers with influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) which can cause a serious lower tract infection.

“The difficult and complex fall that was predicted has materialized as we deal with three major viral threats,” Moore said of the “triple threat” of COVID, flu and RSV. “All three are actively circulating across Ontario in all of our communities.”

Anyone who is around young children in social or public settings, especially if they have cold-like symptoms, should mask in the child’s presence, Moore said.

“Children aged two to five should only wear a mask with supervision if they can safely tolerate masking and can put it on and take it off,” the plan says.

“It’s four and under that are really having the increased risk of hospitalization and to be in our intensive care units today,” Moore said.

Dr. Chris Simpson, Ontario Health’s Medical executive vice president, said there have been a 200-300% increase in respiratory symptomatic patients to emergency rooms.

“We’ve seen the ICUs be filled to capacity for pediatrics,” Simpson said.

Moore said young children, and in particular babies, should be kept from crowds if possible.

There is no vaccine for RSV but children should have all the required vaccinations, he said.

“Pregnant individuals should consider being protected for themselves and their newborn by being vaccinated during pregnancy against influenza, COVID and Pertussis. The vaccines protect you and your newborn.”

aartuso@postmedia.com

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