Last Updated on June 10, 2022 by YGK News Staff
The province is going forward with lifting the majority of remaining mask mandates on Saturday June 11.
Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health announced the province’s commitment to the date on Wednesday, after saying he would review and monitor key indicators across the province before doing so.
“With high vaccination rates and Ontario’s COVID-19 situation continuing to improve, most of the province’s remaining provincial masking requirements, including on public transit, will expire as of 12:00 a.m. on June 11, 2022,” Dr. Kieran Moore said in a statement.
Masking mandates will also be lifted in hospitals and other health care spaces, replaced by ministry guidance on when masks should be worn.
At this time, mandates are only continuing in long term health care spaces and retirement homes.
A number of health care centers have chosen to continue to uphold their mask requirements however, including Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) who will continue to require masks in hospitals including Hotel Dieu and KGH.
In a statement, KHSC said masking remains a critical step in protection.
“Masking is a critical safety measure in our high-risk environment where we care for some of the most vulnerable and frail patients in Southeastern Ontario. So, KHSC will keep our mandatory masking policy in place beyond June 11 for those that enter all KHSC sites,” the statement reads.
“Moving forward, we will be guided by our internal infection control experts about the safe and appropriate time to revise our COVID-19 safety practices (including masking) based on local data such as COVID-19 community prevalence, outbreaks and wastewater monitoring.”
Several in the health community, including the new scientific director of Ontario’s COVID-19 science advisory table Dr. Fahad Razak, have expressed disappointment that mandates in high risk settings weren’t extended a little longer.
Dr. Razak said four more weeks could help relieve some of the pressures hospitals face with staffing concerns, while a number of hospitals in the province already announced they will be continuing to enforce their own masking rules.
KFLA Medical Officer of Health Dr. Oglaza shared a statement saying that recommendations of vaccination, hand hygiene and monitoring for symptoms have not changed in light of the mandates dropping.
“The local COVID-19 indicators suggest that we are past the sixth wave of this pandemic and almost 90 percent of 5 years and older have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine,” the statement from Dr. Oglaza reads.
“We continue to recommend wearing a mask if at higher risk for severe illness, recovering from COVID-19, have symptoms of the virus, or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19.”
COVID-19 tracking for the Kingston region shows 7 current hospitalizations with the virus, two of which are in the ICU.