Masking “strongly” recommended to protect children

“Our hospital system increasingly needs us to protect our children. It’s not just a cover, it’s a layer of protection,” Ontario’s top doctor told reporters as he urged Ontarians to wear masks.

While it’s not mandatory to wear masks, Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health Ontario, “strongly recommends” that Ontarians wear masks in all indoor public spaces, including in schools and child care centres.

“Over the last 1,000 days of the pandemic, Ontarians have done an excellent job of adhering to all recommendations,” Moore said, hoping residents will once again take action to protect the vulnerable.

In the past, the elderly and people with chronic diseases were the most vulnerable groups. That has changed, Moore said. Children under five are now at greatest risk of being hospitalized.

“We need to protect them,” he said. “As we enter a very social time of year, I appeal to families in all social settings to please, please, please be careful of our most vulnerable citizens.”

Over the past few weeks, Ontario’s pediatric wards have filled past capacity for young children with RSV, flu and COVID. However, the flu and RSV have increased patient numbers to the point that at least two hospitals have cancelled surgeries and redeployed staff to emergency rooms and intensive care units.

The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa has opened its second pediatric intensive care unit. Meanwhile, at the Hospital for SickKids in Toronto, patients 14 and older are being transferred to the adult intensive care unit.

Parents with young children are required to wear masks at home even if they are showing mild symptoms of COVID-19, flu or RSV.

“I’m sorry, but you should,” Moore said. “You should practice good hand hygiene, clean surfaces and wear a mask whenever possible to reduce the risk to your child. Another thing you can do as a mom is to get your child vaccinated against COVID and flu. This will There are certain benefits.”

Asked why masking orders weren’t being introduced in schools and child care centers, Moore acknowledged, “We’re discussing that and seeing it as a potential.”

Meanwhile, Moore implored residents to resume early infection control measures.

“You should be screened daily. With RSV and flu, good hand hygiene will be especially important. This is a call to get vaccinated against flu and COVID because there is no vaccine for RSV,” he urged.

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