Ontario’s top doctor reviewing COVID-19 trends as mask mandate for higher-risk settings to expire

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health is “reviewing and monitoring key indicators across the province,” with the mask mandate for higher-risk indoor settings set to expire.

Provincial masking requirements in areas such as public transit, health care settings, long-term care homes and retirement homes were set to expire on April 27. That deadline was extended earlier this year to June 11.

As for whether the mandates will be extended further, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health told CBC News the province will continue to seek and follow the advice of Dr. Kieran Moore on next steps.

Meanwhile, Ontario is reporting 526 COVID-19 hospitalizations and four more deaths linked to the virus.

Tuesday’s reported hospitalizations are up from 430 on Monday but down from 808 on the same day last week.

According to the Ministry of Health, 38 per cent of those hospitalized were admitted specifically for the virus, while the rest were admitted for other reasons and then tested positive.

Of those in hospital, 114 required intensive care, down from 116 on Monday and 140 at this time last week. Fifty-five patients require the help of ventilators to breathe.

Roughly 66 per cent of people in intensive care units were admitted because of the virus, while the rest were admitted for other reasons and then tested positive.

Meanwhile, the province reported at least 537 new daily cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, with 8,291 tests completed within the past 24 hours. However, due to testing limitations, officials say the actual number of daily new cases is likely far higher than reported.

The provincewide test positivity rate stands at 7.2 per cent.

The new deaths reported Tuesday pushes the province’s pandemic death toll to 13,293.

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