Fight brews over what masks York Region teachers should wear
CTV's Siobhan Morris speaks with Dr. Richard Gould, Acting Medical Officer of Health for York Region about masking in schools, the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, and restrictions on indoor dining.
Q: What do you make of the fact that some York Region teachers are being told that they can't wear an N95 mask to school because it isn't in line with what the board is handing out?
A: It's primarily an occupational health issue that is the responsibility of the board to discuss with their employees, so we're not too heavily involved in it. There are many reasons why the board may have established their particular policy, and we would encourage them to have that dialogue with their staff about any updates to that policy.
Q: Some people, I think, are having a hard time understanding why an N95 wouldn't be welcome in an environment like a school.
A: It all depends on how they're worn and how they fit, and where did they get the N95. There are ones that aren't truly certified, depending on where you get them. And if they're not fit-tested, they may not actually be as effective as someone thinks they are.
Q: York Region is hovering around 83 percent of your population (12 and older) fully vaccinated against COVID-19. What is it going to take to get to that 90 percent threshold we've heard so much about?
A: I think continuing with the vaccine certificates, that's going to help. We continue to have our clinics that are available; both pop-up clinics and our hub clinics so that people have opportunities. We are moving a little bit more towards appointments as some of the volume picks up, but we do still allow drop-ins. So we hope that that's going to help a fair amount.
A: A lot of restaurant owners are really angry that they're still limited in terms of capacity because they have to maintain physical distancing.
Do you think that rule needs to change?
Q: I think it's something the province will look at. It's not something that we have enough information here locally to make a decision one way. And certainly, we couldn't really change the policy in one health unit and not the others; it has to be consistent across the province.
So, I think it's important for the province to explain more to those sectors about why they've continued with the policy that they have and whether or not they may be considering any changes.