• Trevor Greenway

Mask up, for the children’s sake

It’s time to mask up, people.


Ever since the mask mandate dropped in Quebec, fewer and fewer have been covering up their faces in public. It’s not surprising – we can all relate to the freedom we felt pulling off those N-95 masks that were strapped to our faces for two long years – and it’s safe to say that nobody wants to go back to that time.


But if the recent recommendation from doctors in Quebec and Ontario to mask up isn’t enough to convince you to pull one on, perhaps the current capacity situation at hospitals will prove to you just how dire the situation is.


In-patient and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) are significantly over capacity, and surgeries are being cancelled or delayed. The hospital has been flooded with children sick with respiratory viruses, primarily RSV and influenza, but also COVID-19. Seven children had to be resuscitated last week at CHEO.


With no ICUs in the Outaouais for children, any kid that has to be put on a ventilator to help them breathe is either sent to CHEO or somewhere in Quebec, which is putting hospitals in crisis mode. CHEO was even forced to turn one of its boardrooms into a pediatric care unit last week to keep up with the overflowing emergency rooms.


As reported in the Ottawa Citizen, an Aylmer family is waiting for heart surgery for their newborn, but the procedure has been delayed until at least January, as there are no ICU beds available at CHEO.


CHEO President Alex Munter made a public plea on Twitter last week, urging the public to, “Mask Up, Get Vaccinated, Wash Your Hands and Stay Home when sick.”

The situation is even worse throughout the province. A number of pediatric care specialists in Quebec signed an open letter to La Presse, describing the current situation as an "historic crisis." The letter stated that doctors and nurses are being forced to make “impossible decisions” about which child receives care.


A child from the Outaouais, as reported by Le Droit last week, was sent by plane to Quebec City to be put on a ventilator.


When the pandemic first hit in 2020, we all masked up to protect seniors and vulnerable people. Shouldn’t we do the same to protect our children?


Is it really that much of a hassle to throw a mask on when you’re at the grocery store? Or when you’re in a large group?


Nobody wants to see governments impose more restrictions — from curfews to gathering limits. If we all do our little part, maybe we can ease the spread of RSV, the flu and COVID, simply by wearing a mask.


Do your part and protect our kids. Protect our hospitals and protect whatever stability is left in our collapsing healthcare system.