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Tam Says Non-Medical Masks Protect Others From Infection, Not Wearer

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer says that of the more than 346,000 tests done Canada-wide, about 5-percent have come back positive for COVID-19.

Dr. Theresa Tam says the federal government’s greatest worry is the numerous outbreaks in high-risk settings and the increasing number of cases in First Nations and at least one Inuit community.

Dr. Tam was heavily pressed about the use of masks. She says medical masks are in short supply worldwide, and must be conserved for those on the frontlines and are in close contact with confirmed cases.

She says non-medical masks can be an additional layer to not infect others and can help to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets to others.  But, she urged that nothing replaces the need to maintain physical distancing, proper respiratory hygiene, and self-isolating if you are ill or traveled recently.

She notes that face coverings can present a suffocation risk to babies and others under the age of 2 as well as those with difficulty breathing and others who may not be able to remove the mask on their own.

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