Hospitals Across Northwestern Ontario Make Masks Mandatory

Woman in surgical mask
"My mask protects you and your mask protects me," said Dr. Samantha Hill

THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – Hospitals throughout Northwestern Ontario are making masks mandatory for all people entering their facilities. This collaborative approach enhances successful infection control in our region and helps to normalize the use of masks.

This of course includes the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

The TBRHSC states, “The health and safety of patients, staff, professional staff, scientists, learners, and the community is Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s utmost priority. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, effective Wednesday, July 15, masks are mandatory for all patients and Care Partners while inside our Hospital. The term ‘mask’ refers to all face coverings.”

COVID-19 may be transmitted by asymptomatic persons. Wearing a mask can help to prevent this asymptomatic spread to others, especially in areas where physical distancing is not possible. Individuals who refuse to wear a mask inside the Hospital and do not require urgent care may be denied entrance.

A mask must cover the nose and mouth and is intended to protect others from the spread of airborne droplets. Wearing a face covering or mask is in addition to maintaining physical distancing and practicing proper hand hygiene. People who are unable to wear a mask due to a health condition should advise the entrance screening staff, who will provide options.

All people entering the Hospital are encouraged to wear their own masks from home. In patients who require a test or procedure outside of a designated care area and are unable to bring their own mask will be provided a procedure mask, which will be changed if/when it becomes soiled while in the Hospital. Outpatients and Care Partners who do not bring a mask will be required to obtain a disposable procedure mask from the screening stations located at the Hospital’s West entrance or Emergency Department entrance for a suggested $2 donation to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation. Only one mask will be available for personal use during the current visit due to limited inventory.

Reusable cloth masks will also be available for purchase at Season’s Gift Shop within our Hospital when they reopen on July 27. Donations to the Health Sciences Foundation and profits from Season’s Gift Shop support patient care at our Hospital.

As patient care service volumes increase during our Hospital’s recovery phase, more patients and Care Partners will be entering the Hospital. This, combined with people traveling to Northwestern Ontario from outside of our region and a re-opening economy, increases the possibility of community spread. Mandatory masks at our Hospital is for the protection of all.

Please be reminded that Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is a scent-free environment and smoking/vaping is not permitted on the property.

For more information about our Hospital’s COVID-19 response, please visit

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