Health Minister and Provincial Health Officer announce actions to protect communities during upcoming respiratory illness season

Last week, Minister of Health Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer (PHO) Dr. Bonnie Henry announced actions to protect communities during the upcoming respiratory illness season. The actions include a requirement that all healthcare workers, volunteers, contractors, and visitors wear medical masks in patient areas of healthcare facilities, starting October 3, 2023. 

COBC has received verbal confirmation that private healthcare facilities, including the settings that many opticians work in, are not included under this directive. While the PHO recommends masking in all practice environments, it is only in public facilities that it is currently required.

Registrants are encouraged to consider the risks to their own client populations, staff, and themselves, and to review current information from the BC Centre for Disease Control, to determine the most appropriate measures for infection prevention and control in their own practices. It may also be helpful to review the news release outlining the provincial government actions.

The Minister of Health and the PHO can issue directives and orders to address public safety concerns at any time; in the future, this could include a directive for mandatory medical masking in private practice environments. COBC will continue to provide registrants with new information as we receive it. We urge registrants to remain up-to-date on directives and orders from the provincial government.

If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at