Ontario’s mask mandate for transit and hospitals to be extended

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The term was due to end on April 27.

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Ontario will extend the masking mandate for nursing homes and public transit until June 11, the government has announced.

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Mandatory face coverings will continue on public transport and in long-term care (LTC) facilities and retirement homes, shelters and similar congregate care facilities as well as in health care facilities such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics, children’s treatment centers and homes and community care.

While Ontario lifted most masking mandates last month, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore previously indicated he was actively considering expanding the requirement in higher-risk settings.

“To protect our progress in managing this latest wave, I am maintaining masking requirements in specific public places where people who are or may be at increased risk of serious consequences are in close contact for extended periods of time,” said Moore in a statement Friday. “Continuing to follow masking requirements and keeping up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations are the best ways to prevent transmission and protect our friends, families and communities.”

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The original date to end all blackout warrants was April 27, while the new date is 12 p.m. on June 11, nine days after the next provincial election.

“As the province adjusts to managing and living with COVID-19, the Ontario government is using all tools available to protect hospital capacity and ensure Ontario can stay open,” says the government statement. “This includes continuing masking in high-risk settings, expanding eligibility for fourth doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, and expanding access to antiviral treatments such as Paxlovid.”

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Ontario will begin receiving supplies of Evusheld, an antibody treatment for immunocompromised people who are not positive for COVID-19 at the time of administration, according to the government.

The two-dose injections are thought to provide protection against the virus for six months.

Those eligible for Evusheld include solid organ, stem cell, CAR-T transplant recipients and other patients with hematological cancer undergoing treatment.

Ontario hospitals reported 1,591 patients with COVID-19 on Friday, including 214 in intensive care and 86 on ventilators.

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