Thinking of tossing the mask after that 2nd dose? Here's what Simcoe Muskoka needs to know
Nearly 22 per cent of Simcoe Muskoka residents have had both COVID-19 shots, and starting Monday, every adult 18 and older who had an mRNA first dose is eligible to get fully vaccinated.
So once residents are fully vaccinated, can face masks finally be a thing of the past?
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, fully vaccinated residents will be able to leave the face mask at home more often.
The agency said that while all residents must continue to follow public health guidelines, restrictions can ease for those with both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
In an information chart, the agency says vaccine status doesn't matter when someone is meeting fully vaccinated people in a small outdoor group; therefore, no face mask for physical distancing is required.
For small indoor groups where everyone in attendance is fully vaccinated, there is no need to wear a mask or keep your distance.
A fully vaccinated person can ditch the face mask when attending a large outdoor gathering where vaccine status is unknown among those in attendance. But anyone who hasn't had both doses should mask up.
Face masks are suggested for concert-style settings regardless of vaccine status.
Additionally, the agency noted anyone who could have added health risks should maintain personal safety measures.
Currently, 64 per cent of Simcoe Muskoka residents have had their first shot.
DELTA VARIANT FOURTH WAVE CONCERNS
Simcoe Muskoka's medical officer of health said he anticipated the Delta variant to dominate COVID-19 cases across the region and even the province.
"It's important to assume that change to Delta dominance among COVID-19 cases is happening everywhere in our District," Gardner said earlier this week. "Because it's more transmissible, it will become more dominant across the province," he noted.
New COVID-19 federal modelling released Friday indicates the Delta variant poses a real risk of a winter resurgence.
Despite the information released by the Public Health Agency of Canada days before the province enters Step 2 of its reopening plans, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam recommends maintaining personal protective measures, like wearing masks, regardless of vaccine status.
With files from The Canadian Press