Skip to main content

Ontario’s top doctor says mask mandates are staying in place for now, but when they are removed for public settings they will simultaneously be lifted in schools.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore says high-risk settings such as public transit, long-term care and hospitals will maintain masking policies even after they are no longer required in most public spaces.

Moore had previously said he wanted to end workplace COVID-19 vaccination policies in sectors such as hospitals and post-secondary institutions on March 1, when capacity limits will lift in indoor public settings and Ontario’s vaccine certificate system is dropped.

But he says today that he is working with the various sectors, and removing those policies may take longer.

Moore also says he is reviewing isolation requirements, such as those for people with COVID-19 symptoms and their household members.

He says public health indicators are improving, though the risk from the virus remains.

Ontario is reporting 1,066 people in hospital with COVID-19 and 302 in intensive care.

That’s slightly down from Wednesday, when the province reported 1,106 hospitalizations and 319 people in ICUs.

Ontario also logged 41 new deaths from the virus.

There were 2,404 new cases of COVID-19, but provincial policies limiting access to testing mean that number is likely higher.

Eighty-four long-term care homes, or about 13 per cent of the province’s homes, are currently listed as having active COVID-19 outbreaks.

Ontario isn’t reporting data on COVID-19 cases in schools, but two schools were closed on Wednesday for operational reasons.

Sign up for the Coronavirus Update newsletter to read the day’s essential coronavirus news, features and explainers written by Globe reporters and editors.