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Simcoe Muskoka's top doctor urges caution as province lifts more mask mandates

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Most of the remaining mask mandates will expire Saturday across the province, prompting Simcoe Muskoka's top doctor to urge caution as "there is still a significant amount of transmission of COVID-19."

Ontario's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, stated on Wednesday that mask directives would end for public transit, hospitals and other health-care settings.

"We recommend that individuals continue to wear masks in transit settings as the province lifts the requirement to do so," stated Dr. Charles Gardner in an email to CTV News.

"We also recommend that mask-wearing continue in hospitals and other health-care settings," he continued.

The province lifted mask mandates in most public settings, like restaurants and gyms, in March, and in April, extended the requirement for public transit, hospitals and long-term care and retirement homes.

"We continue to recommend mask use in indoor public and workplaces when within two metres of others," Dr. Gardner added.

The region's medical officer of health also noted vaccination, distancing, self-monitoring and testing for symptoms as important measures to reduce the risk of transmission.

He noted the health unit supports the province's decision to continue to require masks in long-term care and retirement homes "and recommends ongoing mask use in other congregate settings" such as group homes and shelters.

Citing vulnerable patient populations, several regional hospitals confirmed to CTV News that they would continue mask mandates after Saturday, including Southlake Regional Health Centre, Orillia Soldiers' Memorial, and Georgian Bay General.

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