The province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health is now advising the public to keep their “well-fitting” masks on just a bit longer.
In his first public appearance in about a month, Dr. Kieran Moore strongly encouraged Ontarians to keep a three-ply face mask on in all indoor public settings.
Moore confirmed the province is in its sixth wave of the pandemic and will be for a while, “This wave is not settling until the middle or end of May.” He added that masks, staying up to date with vaccinations, and, most recently, antivirals will be our best bet to get through this wave. Moore also says extending mask mandates in transit, hospitals and nursing homes are the focus of discussions at Queen’s Park, adding that the decision will be ultimately up to the Premier once existing mandates expire on April 27th.
Ontario is also expanding eligibility for COVID-19 antiviral treatments and PCR testing to more high-risk individuals.
Dr. Moore says effective immediately, four high-risk groups of Ontarians can get tested and assessed for antiviral treatments, like Paxlovid. Those include immunocompromised people aged 18 and over, Ontarians 70 and over, those 60 and over with fewer than three vaccine doses, and those 18 and over with fewer than three vaccine doses and at least one risk condition.
Moore adds that starting Tuesday (April 12th) the province will be expanding antiviral dispensing locations to include participating pharmacies across the province. You can find a list of pharmacies that are dispensing Paxlovid at Ontario.ca/antivirals starting Wednesday, April 13.
Moore says the province is also working to prioritize groups that may be at increased risk due to other health-related factors and barriers to health care including First Nation, Inuit, and Métis individuals, Black individuals, and members of other racialized communities.
***With files from Mo Fahim