Masking requirement in most Manitoba health-care settings to end: Shared Health

Masking requirements in Manitoba health-care settings will soon change according to Shared Health.

On Wednesday, Shared Health announced the need for masking will be lifted on May 10 in most health-care facilities throughout Manitoba.

“The changes in masking requirements are based on advice given by infection prevention and control experts and reflect the changes we’ve seen with virus transmission in our province over the past year,” said Monika Warren, Shared Health’s COO of provincially coordinated health services and its chief nursing officer, in a news release. “Care settings across the province will continue to be mask-friendly. Masks will be available to those who wish to wear them.”

Masks will still be required where care in being provided to vulnerable populations Shared Health said, like cancer and transplant patients.

“For individuals experiencing a significant illness or health event, we want to ensure the environments they visit without facilities offer them every possible measure to protect their health and wellness.”

Shared Health said facilities will still have masks at entrances and health-care employees will still be able to access medical and N95 masks.

Shared Health noted this change follows similar decisions being made throughout Canada in the past month.

While this change is being made throughout Manitoba, individual clinics may have their own rules Warren said.

In a statement to CTV News Winnipeg, Dr. Anna Ziomak with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba said the public should still make decisions on protecting themselves how they see fit, and physicians should use their knowledge and skills to protect patients.

 “Physicians are reminded that protocols must not restrict access to care or affect the quality of care they provide. This means respecting requests to wear a mask during patient encounters with those who ask for it, and physicians that encourage masking cannot refuse to provide care to a patient who is not wearing a mask,” said Ziomek in an email.

People are still being encouraged to take the appropriate steps to limit their risk of illness, such as washing hands, sneezing or coughing into their elbow, staying home when sick and staying up to date on vaccines.

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