Toronto’s top doctor is urging residents to resume wearing masks in indoor public places amid an increase in COVID-19 transmission in the city.
The Ford government lifted the mask mandate for most settings last month, but with sewage monitoring now indicating a significant increase in the level of COVID-19 activity in Ontario, some epidemiologists are calling for its relaunch.
At a news conference on Monday, Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said she doesn’t believe warrants are appropriate at this stage of the pandemic, given that they’ve always been intended to be a “temporary tool” for a while. when few other protections existed.
But she said she encouraged Torontonians to continue wearing masks as much as possible, especially with COVID-19 circulating in the community at the level it is currently at.
His comments follow several other local medical officers of health who have provided similar advice to residents, including Ottawa’s top doctor.
“We should expect that from time to time we will need to adjust our behavior to use all the layers of self-protection we have to respond appropriately to COVID-19 activity in our community. This is one of those times,” de Villa said. “Wearing a mask is a simple thing we can all do, especially if you’re older, have elderly people in your life, have a serious health condition, or if you’re just inside with people you don’t know.”
The number of people in Ontario hospitals with COVID-19 has increased by more than 30% over the past week and now stands at 857.
Positivity rates on the limited number of PCR tests carried out in the province are also increasing.
In the past 24 hours, 19% of all samples have come back positive, which is the highest number since the peak of the fifth wave of the pandemic fueled by Omicron on January 18.
Speaking to reporters at an event to discuss a new vaccination campaign, de Villa said the uptick in virus activity is not entirely unexpected given the lifting of most lockdown measures. public health.
However, she said it should serve as an important reminder that “we are not post-pandemic, no matter how tired we are and no matter how much we wish it were.”
“I think we have the tools and the knowledge at our disposal at this point to really help us navigate our way through whatever decisions the province makes,” she said.
Last week, Health Minister Christine Elliott was asked if the province would consider reimposing its mask mandate, but said it “doesn’t seem necessary” at this time.
Elliott also said Ontarians “need to get on with our lives and learn to live with COVID.”