As long as they fit and have at least one layer that provides “good filtration,” sheet masks are still allowed in public places, the Alberta chief medical officer of health said Friday.
Dr Deena Hinshaw commented on personal protective equipment (PPE) after announcing 6,257 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.
In the Twitter posts, she mentioned that masks remain an important tool to prevent infection in some settings, but N95 masks are still not needed.
“There is no conclusive evidence that N95 masks provide sufficient additional benefit in these settings,” she wrote. “Using N95 masks is an option, but a properly fitted medical mask offers a significant advantage.”
In addition, cloth masks remain an effective protection against the virus, but they must have certain characteristics, she said.
“(They) need to be snug and multi-layered, with at least one layer providing good filtration,” she said.
However, wearing a mask is still just a “layer of protection” against COVID-19, Hinshaw said.
“Whatever type of mask you choose to wear, make sure it fits very well and use all other layers of protection possible, including staying away, avoiding crowded areas, maximizing ventilation and reducing the time you spend in any environment outside of your home. “
Starting next week, when Alberta students are expected to return to in-person classes after the extended winter break, staff will provide a supply of medical-grade masks and rapid test kits.
There are no details on the exact date the equipment will be delivered by the provincial government, but letters sent to parents on Friday say it will be available to “all students and staff.”
“The availability of improved medical grade masks and rapid testing will become valuable tools in addition to our health protocols as we work hard to minimize transmission of COVID-19,” the letter said.
Wearing the mask is still mandatory in classroom settings, but it is still up to parents if they want their children to take the masks and rapid tests provided.
“Students and staff are encouraged to continue to wear cloth or disposable masks and are not required to wear government-supplied masks.”
Once available, they will be distributed “as soon as possible”.
“Each student and staff member will receive a box of rapid home test kits, enough to test twice a week for a few weeks if they wish. Medical grade masks will be distributed to students and school staff through the school. said the letter.
The masks will come in two sizes: pediatric for Kindergarten to Grade 6 students and adult for Grades 7 to 12 students and staff.
Rapid tests should only be done at home, and school officials say if a student tests positive through any of the tests, parents should notify them immediately.
“So we are aware and can help support your child’s learning while they need to be away.”