Calls to make masks mandatory in Manitoba cancer clinics

By | August 18, 2020

WINNIPEG — While governments across Canada have made masks mandatory in public indoor spaces to stop the spread of COVID-19, Manitoba is holding off. However, one cancer patient said he would like to see that change.

Fred Ward said when he goes for an appointment at Cancercare Manitoba he wears a mask.

“I’m very susceptible to pretty much everything. My immune system is down to, I’m sure zero,” said Ward who has lung cancer.

However, not everybody wears a face covering when they go to the clinic.

“I’d like to see everybody wear a mask for sure.”

In a statement to CTV News, a spokesperson for Shared Health said “Cancercare Manitoba strongly encourages the use of cloth masks by patients attending appointments, including during use of public transport, to and from facilities. This is consistent with provincial infection prevention and control protocols relating to COVID-19”

Despite the recommendations, masks aren’t mandatory.

Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, said on Monday masks are not a replacement for hand washing and physical distancing.

“If we continue to see, you know, poor uptake and we continue to see numbers going up, then we might have to move to things like mandating, at least in certain circumstances,” Roussin said on Monday.

Ward feels like a mask would help prevent the spread of more than just COVID-19.

“I think it helps (prevent) the spread of anything, like not only COVID, you know any other virus,” said Ward.

Shared Health said preventative measures like screening, hand washing, and physical distancing are in place at all health care facilities.

With files from Jeff Keele.

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