Lambton’s MOH sticking to his mask advice; municipalities know best


Ranade says most COVID-19 transmission happens in places bylaws don’t apply – in private with family

Lambton’s medical officer of health says he still does not believe masks need to be mandatory.

And he believes that in part because the biggest danger for spreading COVID-19 isn’t in public spaces, but with family and friends.

Dr. Sudit Ranade was answering a question from reporters during a teleconference Monday.

In July, Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley urged Lambton county councillors to pass a county-wide mandatory mask bylaw for indoor public spaces hoping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and avoid a second wave of disease.

At the time, Ranade told council he didn’t think a mandatory mask bylaw necessary because most of the local cases of COVID-19 could be traced back to known cases.

Since then, Sarnia, Petrolia, Pt. Edward and Lambton Shores have adopted local bylaws. Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley will attempt to bring up the concept of a county-wide mandatory mask bylaw again Sept. 2.

Ranade told reporters Monday he would be giving the politicians the same advice this time.

“Municipalities in the county have a really good understanding of what what the needs are, and if they feel that the needs are now different service and the intervention should be mandated they can go ahead and do that,” he says. “I would be providing pretty much the same kind of information or advice.”

Ranade added while a mandatory order does translate into more people wearing masks, it doesn’t necessarily stop all cases of COVID-19.

“The real question that I have is whether or not it makes a tremendous difference in terms of the disease transmission,” Ranade told reporters.

“What you’re seeing over and over again, in places that previously had a mask bylaw or even if it was something different, not by law just a good culture around masking, they still have outbreaks. And that’s because people are socializing in places where that would not be used or required.

“The point is that they (masks) need to be used under different circumstances, such as close family gatherings, such as places where you’re going to spend lots and lots of time with other people with people you like actually, not necessarily with people that you don’t know. And those situations that a bylaw would not apply because they’re largely private gatherings.”

Ranade told Lambton County councillors Wednesday he might consider making a recommendation around using masks in private, when with larger family gatherings, in the fall when more people start socializing inside.