Public Health Physician Dr. John Guilfoyle with the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority is hoping to help clear the air with any misconceptions regarding wearing a face-covering or mask.

“As best we can tell, they are of use, particularly when you have symptoms. Whether you have a cold, a runny noise, coughing or sneezing, wearing a mask will help to stop spreading the infection to anyone else. That really is the best use of masks.”

“If you have been given a COVID-19 diagnosis, then wearing a mask makes even more sense to protect those around you, and to make your self-isolation more effective.”

“Masks have a role, and it’s probably useful to have a supply or access to one in your home in case anyone needs to self-isolate. It will help with isolation.”

However, Guifoyle does note that physical and social distancing at all times seems to be more effective at preventing catching COVID-19, but face coverings and masks offer a little more protection.

Guilfoyle adds that simply wearing the mask isn’t enough, as you have to be careful when you’re putting on and removing the mask to prevent spreading any infections to your hand, face or others.

“Wash your hands before you put them on. When you put them on, put them over your ears, keep them over your nose and mouth, and don’t touch your mask.”

“If it gets wet, and it will eventually as we breathe through it, take it off by going behind your ear lobes, not touching the wet part, wash it in soap and water if its reusable, and air-dry it in the sun for 24 hours. Your mask will be fine.”

“If it’s a disposable mask, you need to dispose of the mask properly. You do not throw it aside or on the ground. Put it in a plastic garbage container so it doesn’t have the chance of infecting any other surfaces.”

“And when you take your mask off, whether it’s reusable or disposable, you wash your hands again, because you could have inadvertently gotten some of your respiratory secretions on to your hands.”

Guilfoyle adds that one of Sioux Lookout’s confirmed COVID-19 cases is still in self-isolation at this time, and a second case is self-isolating elsewhere. SLFNHA adds that all contacts have been identified, offered testing and the investigation is ongoing. All results to date have been negative.

The Northwestern Health Unit is reporting the Sioux Lookout area has seen 13 confirmed cases of the illness, and all 13 cases are considered as resolved. Over 11,100 tests have been taken in the region.

For more information:
What do we know about asymptomatic COVID-19 cases?
Is COVID-19 here to stay?