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Sixth wave in Ontario linked to end of mandatory mask, says public health | Coronavirus: Ontario

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The number of confirmed cases and test result positivity rates are increasing, are currently the highest of the pandemic to date and indicate that Ontario is in the ascending phase of a sixth wavesays public health.

Risks for children

Earlier this week, Dr. Peter Jüni, director of Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Group, said sewage data shows the province is seeing between 100,000 and 120,000 new cases every day.

In his report, Public Health Ontario also reports that the province could see an increase in the number of infections among children. The agency believes this could impact the capacity of pediatric hospital wards and lead to further disruption of in-person learning.

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years, the number of children with severe disease is likely to increase”,”text”:”With an expected increase in infections in children associated with increased transmissibility of BA.2, the removal of public health, limited vaccine eligibility and two-dose coverage in children under 12, the number of children with severe disease is likely to increase”}}”>With the expected increase in cases of infection in children associated with increased transmissibility of the BA.2 variant, the removal of public health measures, limited vaccine eligibility and two-dose coverage in children under 12 years, the number of children with serious illness is likely to increasereads the report.

Reintroducing mandatory mask-wearing indoors in schools and other public places and extending this measure to high-risk settings could be effective in reducing transmission, suggests Public Health Ontario.

SPO campaigns for the return of the mask

There have been calls to reinstate compulsory mask-wearing, particularly in schools, as absences among students and teachers continue to rise. Public health experts have criticized the province for ending mandatory mask-wearing, saying it was a mistake.

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Public Health Ontario thinks that a return to stricter health measures and a better vaccination strategy can attenuate a surge in the current context of a more transmissible dominant variant.

Optimizing prevention measures in schools, including temporarily reinstating indoor mask requirements and improving air quality, can reduce the risk of transmission at school and the associated disruptions to students, families and educational institutions.

The health agency also believes that public health officials should stress the importance of wearing a mask to the public to mitigate the sixth wave.

Communicate the risks

Risk communication to the public regarding high rates of SARS-CoV-2 transmission and the risk of COVID-19 contamination can also be helpful, including in the context of collective actions such as wearing masks in the communityreads the report.

However, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott quoted Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Kieran Moore when she said earlier this week there was no need to reinstate mandatory wearing a mask, because the increase in the number of cases was expected.

A woman removes her mask.

Christine Elliott, Ontario Minister of Health

Photo: The Canadian Press/Cole Burston

Public Health Ontario warns that there is an increasing risk that a worrying new variant of COVID-19 will emerge and drastically changes the course of the pandemic.

The appearance of the BA.2 sub-variant while we are witnessing the decline of the BA.1 and BA.1.1 waves highlights the need for constant monitoring based on past experience linked to the suppression of public health interventions, vaccination and preparation for the next stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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