News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

August 24, 2020

MASK USE MANDATED AT MANITOBA HOSPITALS AND HEALTH CENTRES

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Requirement Will Provide Additional Protection for Patients, Visitors and Staff: Friesen

Visitors to all health-care facilities will soon be required to wear non-medical masks as part of the province’s continuing efforts to implement targeted measures to protect Manitobans and limit the spread of COVID-19, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen announced today.

“Our government is committed to taking all appropriate steps to protect the health of Manitobans as we continue to learn to live with this virus,” said Friesen. “As we move towards the fall, additional proactive and preventative measures are needed to ensure the risk of exposure to this virus is minimized for patients and our dedicated front-line clinical staff who care for them.”

All visitors arriving at health-care facilities will be required to wear a non-medical mask to be permitted into the site. The requirement, which takes effect province-wide on Sept. 1, also extends to outpatients attending appointments at clinics within hospitals and health centres throughout the province. While primary care clinics and other locations providing health services are not currently included in the mask requirement, all Manitobans are strongly encouraged to wear a non-medical mask when seeking care, said Friesen.

This requirement is already in place in the Prairie Mountain Health region, where the use of masks is mandatory in all indoor public places as the region is currently listed as Restricted (orange) under the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System.

“Wearing masks provides additional protection for people, particularly in indoor spaces where physical distancing is not possible,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer. “Wearing masks in hospitals and health centres will ensure we are all doing what we can to protect ourselves and others from this virus.”

Visitors are asked to arrive at facilities with their own non-medical mask. Those who do not have a mask will be notified of locations where they may be purchased. In certain circumstances, they will be provided with one.

The policy expands upon a requirement already in place for more than a month at personal care homes, where visitors are mandated to wear non-medical masks during indoor visits. It also builds on a number of initiatives implemented since the start of the pandemic to protect patients and staff at Manitoba health-care facilities from COVID-19, including:
•    appropriate use of personal protective equipment;
•    enhanced visitor restrictions;
•    routine deep cleans of clinical departments, including examination and waiting rooms;
•    daily screening of staff prior to the start of their shifts; and
•    implementation of the single-site staffing model at personal care homes.

Friesen noted the non-medical mask requirement does not apply to children under the age of two, as well as those with an underlying medical condition that may inhibit their ability to wear a mask.

For more information on inpatient visitation principles, visit: https://sharedhealthmb.ca/files/covid-19-inpatient-visit-principles.pdf.

For more information on visitation principles for long-term care facilities, visit: https://sharedhealthmb.ca/files/covid-19-pch-visitation-principles.pdf.

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