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Region’s hospitals to maintain mask mandate

While the provincial government has lifted mask mandates in most settings, including public transit and healthcare settings, Waterloo-Wellington hospitals will keep the mandate in place for now.

“The science tells us how COVID is spread and that has not changed,” said Marianne Walker, president and CEO of Guelph General Hospital.

“We care for the most vulnerable patients and masking is one way we can keep them safe,” said Walker, who is also Waterloo Wellington hospital COVID-19 regional response lead.

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, justified the lifting of the mandate based on the province’s vaccine rate and case numbers. As of June 5, 85.3 per cent of the population has had one dose, 82.3 per cent have had two doses, while 49.9 per cent have had a booster.

In Waterloo Region as of June 9, 89.2 per cent of residents age 5 and up have had at least one dose, 86.3 per cent a second shot, while booster doses are at 51.8 per cent. The mask mandate will remain in place in long-term care and retirement homes for the time being.

According to the science advisory table, across the province there are 563 patients in hospital with 111 of those in the ICU as of June 12. The province is averaging 704 cases a day.

In the region there were 153 active cases as of June 14, which is up from the previous week. There are currently two outbreaks in high risk settings, with 11 patients in hospital and three in the ICU.

Walker did not provide a date for when Waterloo-Wellington hospitals will remove the mandate.

“Maintaining safety measures at our hospitals helps protect patients and staff. They also reduce the opportunity for outbreaks to occur in hospital settings which can affect our ability to provide and ramp up our services,” she said.

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