FILE – Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference in Ottawa, Wednesday April 1, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Canada looking to disinfect used masks, Dr. Tam asks they not be thrown away

Canadian COVID-19 cases top 14,000

Canada’s public health chief says hospitals should not throw away used masks and other protective equipment because experts are looking to see if they can be disinfected and reused.

Speaking Sunday (April 5), Dr. Theresa Tam said protecting health care workers is one of her top priorities in the COVID-19 pandemic. Tam said there are now at least 14,426 cases of the virus in Canada and 258 deaths.

“The highest proportion of deaths are among those aged 80 or older,” she said. “Keeping seniors safe is a very critical part of what we need to do.”

Tam reminded Canadians that the numbers she provides each morning are only those that have been identified to date, and that everyone needs to act like there are cases in their own community, regardless of what has been reported. More than 323,000 people have been tested so far, with just over four per cent positive for the virus.

When asked about wearing masks to stop the spread of COVID-19, Tam said the most important measures were to physically distance by two metres and to self-isolate. Wearing a mask was an “additional measure” to protect those around you.

“Globally, there is a very much a competitive environment and a shortage environment,” she said.

Speaking to keeping up with mask supplies, Tam said there is work underway looking for the best science that can be used to decontaminate used masks and other equipment.

She says there are companies in Canada with the capacity to do so if the science can be proven.

But she says there is also a signal going to provinces and territories that certain things shouldn’t be thrown away right now so when the science is in place it can be applied immediately.

Tam says disinfecting used equipment is “one of the most worthwhile pursuits” when it comes to personal protective equipment.

READ MORE: Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

The Canadian Press


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Funding available for Elk Valley charities coping with COVID-19

Almost $110,000 is set aside to be distributed by the Community Foundation of the Kootenay Rockies

Elk Valley businesses reopen after months of closures

Opening with restrictions, local services keep health and safety a priority

Mental health and COVID-19: going forward

Dr. Tyla Charbonneau offers some mental health advice for moving into our new normal

Elk Valley businesses announce permanent closures

Three local businesses will not be reopning their brick and mortar stores

Possible Kermode Bear spotted near Castlegar

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run on May 27

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of the world of summer sports

In a typical year, there are plenty of summer sporting events and tournaments held across Canada

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Man recalls black bear chasing him up tree in Slocan Valley

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

Most Read