"We don't see the pertinence of reintroducing mandatory mask-wearing."
Amid sustained high case numbers brought on by the seventh wave of COVID-19, Quebec Public Health Director Dr. Luc Boileau reiterated his belief that a renewed mask mandate is not necessary to stem the current tide of infections — especially since, according to the director, we've just about passed the peak of the latest wave without one.
"We don't see the pertinence of reintroducing mandatory mask-wearing," Boileau told reporters during a July 29 press conference. "We've gotten through most of the wave. We're probably at the plateau. We were able to get here without imposing new measures."
He added that, in his view, it's more difficult in the summer months to engage in the kind of close contact that could engender infection — despite the uptick in cases and hospitalizations since the end of June.
Boileau cautioned that he and his team would continue to monitor the situation and suggested changes in strategy are always possible, but that "for the moment" new measures aren't on the horizon.
Though it doesn't look like there will be more mask mandates, the public health director stressed that officials do still recommend their use as part of an arsenal of habits that he considers necessary to "live with the virus."
"Living with the virus does not mean living as if there is no virus," he said. Quebecers should mask up, he continued, "as needed," such as in crowded environments. People should also, according to the director, "favour" large, ventilated spaces, take rapid tests when they have COVID-19 symptoms, isolate themselves when ill, and stay up to date on their vaccinations.
Boileau was also asked whether public health officials had any concerns ahead of Osheaga, when thousands of festival-goers will descend in large sweaty crowds upon Montreal's Parc Jean-Drapeau. QMI reporter Félix Lacerte cited the case of the Festival d'été de Québec, which coincided with an increase in cases in the Quebec City area earlier in July.
Boileau said such occurrences (case increases after major events) were not uncommon, but nevertheless encouraged attendees to be "careful" and, if they're a member of a population deemed particularly vulnerable to infection, to wear a mask.