The first COVID-19 case in Canada was reported on January 25, 2020. Now, as we approach the end of 2022, we are seeing how easily transmissible COVID-19 still is and why masks still play an important role.
Ontarians are being advised by experts once again to put on face masks and keep up with vaccinations this winter.
The advice arrives on the heels of a technical briefing given last Thursday of the latest COVID-19 infection numbers of Canada by chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam. Her briefing included a warning that Canada is seeing an "increased growth" in new COVID-19 variants and seasonal influenza cases.
The surge in COVID-19 variants and seasonal influenza and respiratory cases includes influx of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases which have hit hospitals hard. According to nearly a dozen paediatric specialists interviewed by The Globe and Mail it looks like this year will be even worse than last year (last year BC Children’s Hospital saw almost three times usual RSV infection numbers in kids under three years old).
Physicians with the Ontario Medical Association, who gathered last Wednesday for a news conference, stated more than half of Canadian cases of the illness so far have been in children and teenagers.
SO: do these updates mean that Ontarians and students can expect mandatory mask mandates to return in schools?
It’s hard to say, but it seems a potential outcome if numbers continue to creep up. According to a Globe interview done in October with Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s medical officer of health, public health measures like mandatory masking could return “if necessary."
Premier Doug Ford was also asked last week if the Ontario government would bring back mask mandates, especially for children. Ford said he'd follow the advice of Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore.
"I'd wear a mask when you can if you're within risk and get your flu shot, get a vax shot, too," said Ford.
Ontario parents are saying that statements like this by government officials and experts aren't enough, and have begun gather support to call out for the province to bring back mask mandates in the classroom.
The takeaway: a ‘vaccine-plus’ strategy
In Thursday's conference Dr. Tam urged Canadians to adopt a “vaccine-plus” approach, which means alongside vaccinations and masking Canadians should also bring back well-known preventative measures such as proper hand hygiene and staying at home when sick.
“We know that using personal protective measures, like masking, helps reduce transmission. Likewise getting a booster dose doesn’t just protect you against severe illness, it also provides a level of protection against infection, which in turn helps to reduce transmission. The more of us getting up to date with are COVID-19 booster doses, the greater the effect to reduce the overall impact of the wave,” said Dr. Tam.
As with many other health related concerns, prevention is key!
If you are heading to an area of greater congestion or traffic, say a grocery store or shopping mall for early Christmas shopping, make sure to bring along a mask! And if you haven’t already, make sure to organize your influenza and COVID-19 boosters. Reducing the chances of problems arising in the first place is always a plus.
As we start the third week of November, this is Covergalls’ call to you: pull out your masks and get your vaccines (if you haven’t already)! These two easy steps will really help our hospitals deal with surges of health cases this winter and are a great way to keep friends and family safe.
Light weight, washable and reusable fabric, the Covergalls face mask is built to help provide protection while still feeling comfortable. Visit our page to see what designs we have to offer: https://covergalls.com/collections/masks