British Columbians may soon be required to wear masks in hospitals once again.
The province is considering reintroducing a mask mandate in health-care facilities as the cold, flu and COVID season arrives.
It’s been five months since B.C. ended its mask mandate at health-care sites, but provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry warns that COVID-19 cases have recently tripled in B.C.
“Dr. Henry will be looking at this question with respect to the wearing of masks in health-care facilities,” said B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix.
“We felt it was important during this period, where COVID cases were relatively lower, that we have a period where doctors and nurses and health-care workers and people could see each other’s faces, and that has value,” he added. “But that’s an issue Dr. Henry will be looking at.”
The province is expected to unveil a fall vaccination campaign as early as next week urging people to get a booster, and mandatory masking at hospitals may be a part of that.
Some hospitals in Ontario have already made that call and reintroduced mandatory masks in health-care facilities earlier this week.
“COVID-19 has not gone away, it’s still there, there are new variants,” said Dix.
“There will be new variants and we have to continue to take action as we live our lives within the context of COVID-19,” he said.
“We have to continue to take action, and be prudent, and that means staying home when you are sick, washing your hands, wearing masks where appropriate and having an immunization campaign that leads the world, and that’s what we need to do in B.C.”