Dr. Karen Turcotte, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Almonte General Hospital, kindly allowed us to share this recent Facebook post.

Kudos to Ottawa Public Health and surrounding public health regions for prioritizing the health and safety of our community over comfort, even if it is not a popular decision with all.

https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/public-health-topics/masks.aspx

As a family physician, there are very few people I would recommend mask exemptions for.

The Canadian Thoracic Society has been very clear on their recommendation for patients with lung disease (asthma, COPD, etc) to use masks. If you truly feel your lung condition is so severe that you cannot tolerate a mask, consider having someone else do your shopping and avoid indoor public spaces where possible. You are one of the vulnerable community members the rest of us wear our masks to try and protect.

https://cts-sct.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/May_28_2020_Face-Mask-position-statement-Final.pdf

Children under 2 should not use masks. They are at risk of suffocation. I’ve been amazed at how well children over 2 are adapting to masking. They even find it fun. Teach your little ones how to wear it and make it fun.

People with severe cognitive impairment (dementia, developmental delay, etc) may also not be able to tolerate a mask. These people often have other medical issues and would also be safer to avoid indoor public spaces where possible.

As an ER/family doctor, I wear a mask all day/night at work, often for up to 14 hours or more. Do I enjoy it? No. But it seems a minor inconvenience for the greater good. I do it to protect the at-risk individuals I encounter on a daily basis. You will get used to it as you wear it more and more.

Please stop harassing business owners and staff about the masking policies that were mandated by Ottawa Public Health. Their jobs are already difficult enough. No one is trying to take away your rights. Be respectful of each other whether you are choosing to mask or feel you have a medical reason to be exempt.

If we all wear masks, this will allow us to move on to phase 3 more safely and likely sooner. Who doesn’t want to move on to phase 3?? Masking works. Plain and simple. Protect your neighbours and they will protect you and your loved ones. Stay safe.

Dr. Karen Turcotte