The Middlesex-London health unit will reconsider whether to require non-medical masks or face coverings be worn in public spaces.

Middlesex-London Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Chris Mackie has announced he will reconsider the need for mandated masking as he keeps watch on the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak in Kingston.

As of Monday morning, the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health Unit had identified 27 positive cases linked to a so-called ‘super spreader’ outbreak at a nail salon.

Last week the health unit there also said each positive case was reporting an average of 10 other close contacts, meaning thousands may now be at risk of contracting the virus.

According to Dr. Mackie, despite being smaller in size, Kingston and London are comparable in many ways. That’s why, during his daily briefing, Dr. Mackie said seeing them go from a streak of zero new cases to sixteen followed by even more over the weekend was concerning.

“And the other thing this is triggering yet again for us is a very careful reassessment of all the information around the effectiveness of masking, the appropriateness of ordering mandatory masking, and other potential interventions such as distributing free masking,” he said. ”Those are all back on the table for us.”

Kingston made masks mandatory in all commercial and municipal buildings on Friday, while Mayors across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area have put out a unified call for the Ontario Government to enact a mandatory face covering measure for large municipalities.

Mackie said his decision could come as early as Thursday.


Party Foul

The renewed talk about mandating masking comes as the Middlesex-London Health Unit has reissued a warning to limit social gatherings to ten people or less.

The health unit said one rule-breaking backyard barbecue earlier this month is now being blamed for infecting eight people, six women and two men, all in their 20s.

Not only did the 25 or so people at that barbecue break the rules on social gatherings, the health unit said a number of those to since test positive also attended other parties, including in Waterloo and Hamilton, before getting their test results back.

None of the eight people to get sick so far have needed to be hospitalized but, with Canada Day on Wednesday, Dr. Chris Mackie said behaviour like this is unacceptable.

“What we have here is a situation where we all want this pandemic to be over, but the reality is the virus is still in our community,” Mackie said. “It is lurking and if people are not cautious about their Canada Day parties, they will end up being Covid-parties.”

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