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Ford tells Ontarians to 'wear a mask' ahead of top doctor's expected recommendation

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is advising the public to “wear a mask every time possible” a day before the province’s top doctor is set to recommend masking on Monday.

“Wear a mask every time possible, number one. Number two, get a vaccination shot, if you haven't already received yours, and get a flu shot. Those are the recommendations I have,” Ford said at a Sunday news conference announcing an extension to the provincial gas tax cut

The premier said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore will make an announcement on Monday alongside Ontario's Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Catherine Zahn, and Dr. Chris Simpson and Matt Anderson with Ontario Health.

A provincial release issued on Sunday states that Moore will provide an update at 9 a.m. the following day.  

Moore is set to make a general recommendation to wear masks, specifically in crowded areas, two sources told The Canadian Press. However, a province-wide mask mandate is not expected to be announced.

News of mask recommendations comes as children’s hospitals across the province are experiencing an “unprecedented” volume of patients in the midst of an increase of respiratory illnesses.

To deal with this influx, Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children announced on Friday afternoon that they are putting surgical procedures on hold.

“I was in conversations with seven hospitals across Ontario on Friday,” Ford said. “I spoke to every single CEO. We're pulling out every single stop along with them to make sure that we have the capacity to handle the flu season.”

However, Ford stopped short of offering a mask mandate as a possible solution.

Compounded with rising pediatric patient volumes is a national shortage of children’s pain medications.

Ford insisted that the federal government needs to “step in” and start working with American providers to restock empty pharmacy shelves.

“Let's bring it up, it doesn't matter what's on what label, as long as it's safe,” Ford said.

Last month, the federal government approved the “exceptional importation” of ibuprofen from the United States and acetaminophen from Australia. Top Stories

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