A Notice Issued by the Blood Tribe Department of Health Chief Executive Officer:
I am worried about catching COVID-19. Should I wear a medical mask?
• Masks can be very important in certain situations. When sick, wearing a mask helps prevent us from passing illnesses on to other people. This is why we ask people who have a cough or respiratory symptoms to wash their hands and wear a mask when visiting an emergency department or clinic.
• If you are sick, wearing a mask helps prevent passing the illness on to other people.
• If you are healthy, medical masks are not recommended as they don’t provide full protection and can create a false sense of security.
• Frequent and thorough hand washing, covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing and avoiding touching your face, nose or mouth remain the best evidence-based ways to prevent the spread of respiratory illness.
• N95 masks (respirator masks) require special fitting and testing in order to be effective. We strongly recommend against members of the public using N95 masks, as they can make it more difficult to breathe for some individuals, especially those with chronic breathing problems. They provide little, if any, benefit to members of the public, beyond that provided by a procedure mask.
Reusable cloth masks: You may have seen many volunteers sewing these for distribution, and some hospitals in the United States were even asking for them as a last resort due to shortages of other kinds of masks. However, their effectiveness hasn’t been studied much and would depend on the type of fabric, said Dr. Michael Gardam, an infectious disease specialist and chief of staff for Humber River Hospital in Toronto. “They do tend to be quite porous,” he added. It is also noted that non-disposable cloth masks may harbour disease and place the wearer at risk.
Kevin Cowan, CEO
Blood Tribe Department of Health