Ontario doctors advise masks, vaccine catch up ahead of anticipated tough viral season

TORONTO — Ontario doctors are advising the public to wear masks indoors and keep up with vaccinations amid a worsening respiratory illness season that’s hitting children particularly hard.

A news conference hosted by the Ontario Medical Association heard that influenza has arrived early in the province and more than half of Canadian cases of the illness so far have been in children and teenagers.

Dr. Rod Lim of the Children’s Hospital in London, Ont., says the pediatric health system is under strain due to the high circulation of respiratory illnesses, staffing challenges and medication supply chain issues.

Read more: Time for Ontario to reinstate mask mandates: ex science table adviser

He says the pediatric system is bracing for “an incredibly challenging winter” as respiratory illnesses typically peak in January, February and March.

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Dr. Rose Zacharias, president of the Ontario Medical Association, says the organization is urging the public to get vaccinated against influenza and keep up to date with COVID-19 shots.

Dr. Vinita Dubey, associate medical officer of health for Toronto, says masks can help reduce the spread of various viral illnesses that are circulating in the province, including COVID-19.

&© 2022 The Canadian Press

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