reusing masks

Canada is looking into the possibility of disinfecting and reusing face masks

Health officials in Canada are looking into ways they can be reusing, disinfecting and decontaminating face masks says the country's public health chief, Dr. Theresa Tam.

Speaking at her daily COVID-19 press briefing Sunday, Dr. Tham said public health officials are actively looking into how to best look after the country's limited supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).

"Part of it is the science of decontamination of what works, and secondly we are looking at multiple entities in Canada that might be able to actually do this," she said.

"Also, then signalling to provinces and territories that certain things shouldn't be thrown away right now so that we can actually implement this should we find the actual people who can do this," she continued.

"It is one of the most important and I think worthwhile lines of pursuit for PPE right now."

Dr. Tham also said Canada is having an active discussion about the country's mask recommendations for the general public. 

Public health officials across Canada have repeatedly recommended against asymptomatic people wearing masks to protect themselves and others against COVID-19. 

Dr. Tam has specifically advised against wearing medical-grade masks in order to ensure there's enough supply for healthcare workers, and she continues to emphasize this. 

She has also previously said that masks can give a false sense of security and, if used incorrectly, can actually contribute to the transmission of the virus. 

On Sunday, Dr. Tham said Canada is looking into changing its non-medical mask recommendations but the discussion is ongoing.

She said non-medical masks haven't been proven to protect the person wearing it from getting he virus, but they can protect others around that person.

"Everyone must still practice strict hygienic measures and the social distancing measures. Stay home if you're sick," she said.

"Wearing a non-medical mask is an additional measure that we're considering to protect others around you. It's a matter of you protecting others."

Dr. Tham said Canada is actively reviewing the evidence with the provinces and territories and they'll have more information soon.

Lead photo by

Abhihek Narayan

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in News

There's a huge fight over lobster fishing in Nova Scotia right now

Woman says human rights violated after LUSH store kicks her out for not wearing mask

A fisherman in Canada keeps catching some of the strangest fish ever

Masks Over Hugs group crashes anti-mask protest in Canada

100 students in Edmonton self-isolating after being exposed to COVID-19 at high school

B.C. shuts down nightclubs and moves up last call for bars

Halifax man shares video of anti-Black racist encounter

The COVID-19 curve is no longer flattening in Canada