Chief Medical Officer Recommends Masking

Yesterday, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore provided an update concerning the worsening rate of COVID, flu, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus also known as RSV in the province. Based on the most recent statistics, notably the increased rate of hospitalization amongst children, those that are older, and the immunocompromised, Dr. Moore has strongly recommended that all Ontarians use all available layers of protection to keep our ourselves, our families, friends and colleagues safe against the conditions noted above.

Businesses can encourage employees on what to do to avoid getting sick and spreading it in the workplace. Suggestions include:

  • It is strongly recommended that masks be worn in all indoor public settings, when in close contact, in crowds and in confined areas.
  • Encouraging staff and clients to practice hand hygiene by washing hands well and often with soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use a hand sanitizer (gel or wipes) with alcohol.
  • York Region Public Health has a downloadable printable poster on correct handwashing procedures you can use in the workplace and has shared video guides on proper handwashing (here and here) that can be shared with employees.
  • Asking staff and clients to screen daily for symptoms and stay home when you are unwell.
  • The Province of Ontario offers a free online Self Assessment Tool (SAT) for COVID-19 available for workplaces that wish to continue active screening.
    • Reminding staff and clients to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze, and to throw the tissue out immediately and wash their hands. Coughing should be into an upper sleeve if a tissue is unavailable.
  • York Region Public Health has a downloadable printable poster on covering coughs and sneezes you can use in the workplace.
  • Encouraging staff to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Reminding staff to clean and disinfect surfaces and shared items.
  • Public Health Ontario has a Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings factsheet for COVID-19, which is applicable for cleaning and disinfection for both the flu and RSV.
  • Encouraging staff to get the flu shot and the COVID-19 booster. Both can be received at the same time. They can check with York Region or their local health department to find a vaccination clinic nearest to them.