Public health officials from all levels of government are now recommending that Canadians use non-surgical masks in some situations. One of those is the city of Toronto’s chief medical officer, Dr. Eileen de Villa.
DR. EILEEN DE VILLA STRONGLY RECOMMENDS WEARING A MASK
Dr. de Villa said that while non-surgical masks have not yet been proven to protect from COVID-19, evidence suggests that they might be useful for people already infected to minimize the chances of them further spreading the virus.
Dr. de Villa said that “it is important to note that while the available scientific evidence on this subject is limited, there appears to be some benefit to wearing a mask in that it protects others from your germs.”
Dr. de Villa said that wearing a non-surgical mask is important, given that there is evidence that non-symptomatic people might unknowingly spread the virus before they even know that they’re sick.
With many parts of Canada slowly lifting COVID-19 related restrictions, Dr. de Villa believes that wearing non-surgical face masks will help prevent a spike in COVID-19 cases.
“This is why especially now as we approach reopening in our city, I strongly recommend that we use face masks to protect others when we are in settings where we cannot maintain physical distancing. This will help to reduce virus spread in our community,” Dr. de Villa said.
WEAR A MASK WHEN SOCIAL DISTANCING IS NOT POSSIBLE
Public health officials, including Dr. de Villa, is strongly encouraging Canadians that non-surgical masks whenever physical distancing is not possible.
Dr. de Villa recommends wearing a mask whenever outside in public, including in an elevator, at the grocery, when using the subway or the bus, as well as taxis and ride sharing vehicles.
Dr. de Villa said that a non-surgical mask is unnecessary if you’re outside walking on the street and there is plenty of space between you and other people.
With the warm weather, more Canadians are out and about, including runners.
Dr. de Villa said that wearing non-surgical masks is not mandatory in the City of Toronto.
HOW TO WEAR A MASK PROPERLY
Dr. de Villa suggests that Canadians follow the Public Health Agency of Canada guidelines when choosing a non-surgical mask.
Non-surgical masks should allow the wearer to breathe easily. It should also fit securely using appropriate ties and loops.
The PHA also suggests that non-surgical face masks be properly made from at least two layers of either cotton or linen.
Non-surgical masks should cover the wearer’s nose and mouth securely.
Dr. de Vila said that it is important to continue washing your hands, especially when handling your non-surgical mask.
“The first step is to wash your hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Keep your hair away from your face, and place the mask over your mouth and nose snugly to ensure there is no space. Your mask should fit comfortably and you should be able to breathe easily,” Dr. de Villa said.
Dr. de Villa is asking Canadians to be careful with their non-surgical masks, and to wear them properly. Non-reusable masks should be thrown after each use.
She also recommends that washable non-surgical masks should be put in the laundry after every use, and washed with hot water.
Not everyone should wear a non-surgical mask, including children under the age of two as well as people with medical conditions that makes wearing a mask difficult.
Dr. de Villa maintains that the science being used to fight the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, and the use of non-surgical masks is the best advice available at this time.
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