Health unit to order mandatory masks


Homemade protective mask and pieces of cloth on a gray background.

Renfrew County’s acting medical officer of health is expected to issue an order Monday to require people to wear masks in indoor settings to support the fight against COVID-19.

Dr. Robert Cushman will join the medical officers of health for three other regions – the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, and Ottawa Public Health – for a virtual press conference Monday afternoon regarding “a new directive for mandatory mask use” to be issued by all four.

The cities of Toronto and Kingston have already moved to make the wearing of cloth masks mandatory in indoor public spaces.

A bylaw for the city of Ottawa was expected to come forward to city council on July 15.

In May, Dr. Cushman recommended that residents of Renfrew County and District wear masks in public, when physical distancing could not be maintained.

“An example is wearing a mask in grocery stores or when you must come into close contact with others,” the county health unit said at the time.

“According to Dr. Cushman, ‘it is particularly important if you cannot observe the 2-metre rule, it is best to wear a mask’.”

According to the latest health unit figures, Renfrew County and District has only two active cases of COVID-19 in the region.

One person is in self-isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus last week, and one remains in hospital care.

The county has had 26 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in all since March, with 23 of those cases now resolved and one death – a 90-year-old resident of a Pembroke nursing home.

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