CORNWALL, Ontario – In a conference call with media on Tuesday, June 30, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Chief Medical Officer of Health with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), will be instituting mandatory face masks in public places to help to continue the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Roumeliotis explained that this initiative was being undertaken in partnership with neighbouring health units in Leeds-Grenville and Ottawa. He said that the details of the mask mandate are still being worked out, but should be unveiled early next week.
“We’ve been getting a lot of complaints and requests actually asking we implement a mandatory masking in public places. Especially indoor places,” he said.
Dr. Roumeltiotis said that masks will better protect the public from the spread of COVID-19.
“We want people to get used to it, we want it to be a norm. There will be penalties with this but there will be a grace period,” he said. “We have nothing to lose by wearing a mask, nothing what so ever. It will be one of our tools that will prepare us for a second wave if and when it comes.”
The last positive case of COVID-19 in the EOHU region was found on June 19 and Dr. Roumeliotis stated that no cases had been discovered in neighbouring health units in seven days.
Despite this lack of new cases, Dr. Roumeliotis warned of possible flare ups and of opening too quickly.
“Let’s learn from the United States. They went in to quickly, especially in the southern states, they really rushed it and are paying the price for it,” he said. “It is actually more costly to open too quickly. The economic price, the social price, the psychological price is more.”
Dr. Roumeliotis also stated that there were no new cases in the EOHU region connected to the Cornwall Black Lives Matter protest that took place on June 6.