Dr. Ahmed says masks give false sense of security

surgical mask. Photo via CDC.

While there are now 204 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Windsor region, the Medical Officer of Health is not recommending everyone wear face masks while out in public.

Over the weekend, the Centers for Disease Control in the United States recommended the use of cloth masks for anyone making trips outside. However, Dr. Wajid Ahmed said there are risks associated with the recommendation.

“I’m not advocating that everyone should be wearing a mask at this time,” said Ahmed. “Homemade masks are not as effective as many people think. It gives a false sense of security. Many people, when wearing the mask, may think that they are safe and they may take measures that put them at risk.”

If residents choose to wear homemade masks they should follow a number of safety protocols. Ahmed said people should first wash hands, secure loops around ears, and ensure the mask completely covers your nose and mouth without any gaps. Do not touch the mask while wearing it and remove the mask only by the elastic loops or ties. Wash or discard the mask immediately.

“The mask will not save you from contracting the virus but it will prevent some of these early pre-symptomatic phase transmissions. If you are sick then it can protect others,” said Ahmed. “People need to understand that the mask is not the one solution to everything that we are talking about. Your best measure is still the physical distancing piece. If you are in a situation where you cannot maintain the physical distance then wearing a mask could provide additional benefit for you.”

As of Monday morning, there were 4,038 confirmed cases in Ontario and 15,718 cases in Michigan.

There are currently six long term care homes in Windsor-Essex experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks.