As of May 10, 2023, Shared Health has advised health facilities to return to routine practices for infection prevention and control, with additional precautions. This means that masks are no longer mandatory for staff, patients or visitors in most areas of hospitals, personal care homes and other Shared Health / RHA facilities. At the discretion of specific units with particularly vulnerable patients (e.g. cancer, transplant), additional precautions may be in place for staff and visitors, including being asked to wear a mask.

You can access key guidance from Shared Health here from their PPE resources page and Infection Prevention and Control page including:

In Hospitals and RHA Facilities

Here is a summary of key changes for hospitals and RHA facilities:

  • A return to routine practices means masks will be optional in most areas for both staff and patients/​visitors, with some exceptions where additional precautions will be in place with clear signage posted.
  • Masks and N95 respirators will continue to be available to available to staff based on your point of care risk assessment. Medical masks will be available for patients and visitors at entrances.
  • Patients with cold/​flu symptoms will be asked to wear a mask. Visitors with cold/​flu symptoms will be asked to stay home.
  • Facilities will be mask-friendly” environments, meaning masks are welcomed and encouraged. It also means patients can ask physicians and staff to wear a mask. 
  • Guidelines for aerosol-generating medical procedures have been updated.

For Family Medicine / Outpatient Clinics

Physicians and medical directors in independent medical clinics or health facilities now have more discretion to set their own mask policies. In setting guidelines, physicians should use guidance from Shared Health, Public Health and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba, along with your medical assessment of the risks in your clinic space and among your patient population.

Generally, this would include:

  • Clearly communicating your mask policy to patients, including when patients book their appointment and with signage posted at your clinic entrance.
  • Asking patients with cold/​flu symptoms to call ahead. Use your judgment in responding, including whether a virtual visit is appropriate. If an in-person visit is necessary or requested by the patient, consider how best to accommodate this to minimize the risk to providers and other patients. Symptomatic patients can be asked to wear a mask, but cannot be denied care if they refuse, as per CPSM direction. However, they can be asked to wait in their car or be escorted to an exam room to bypass a general waiting area. They could also be scheduled at a time of day that minimizes risk to others.
  • Adopting a mask-friendly environment where mask-wearing is welcomed, and patients can ask a physician or staff to wear a mask. This includes continuing to have masks available on site for symptomatic patients.

Doctors Manitoba has created two printable posters for your practice:

If you have concerns or need further advice, contact us at practiceadvice@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca.