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Don’t send homemade masks to doctors, they need scrub caps and love

Last Updated Mar 27, 2020 at 10:10 am PDT

FILE: Vancouver general Hospital Emergency Department nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists and support staff. (Courtesy Twitter/@laragurneyRN)

B.C. provincial health officer says cloth masks inappropriate in healthcare settings

ECDC says cloth masks may increase healthcare workers’ infection rate

The 7 :00 p.m. cheer for the frontline continues each night at shift change

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — There is no way to remove the burden healthcare workers are carrying right now, but some are trying to lighten it as much as possible.

The best way to do your part is to stay home, wash your hands and keep informed. From home, you can join in the 7:00 p.m. nightly cheer for frontline workers.

For one ICU staff member at Vancouver General Hospital, hearing the cheers was the boost she needed on her way to work this week.

Positive post alert ❤️ I was walking to my nightshift in the ICU this afternoon and as I walked the beautiful people…

Posted by Haylee Mathieson on Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Locals joke that Frank Wimberly and the Docs & Socks Pipe Band of North Vancouver are trying to scare the coronavirus away, but they aren’t the only musicians joining in the cacophony of pots and pans.

In front of Haro Park Centre, one of the B.C. long term care centres that has been impacted by COVID-19 infections, the daughter of a resident who has tested positive has been playing the trumpet for her blind father, from the street.

Another popular way to help has been to sew and send homemade masks to healthcare workers, but provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry does not recommend the use of cloth masks in health-care settings.

“In terms of groups wanting to help, the challenge we have is that the equipment, the [homemade] personal protective equipment, may not be the right thing for a healthcare setting, and that has happened in a couple of cases where people have been well meaning, but have delivered things that were inappropriate,” she said earlier in the week when asked at a daily briefing.

“Cloth masks are not known to be effective to protect you. They can be effective in keeping your droplets in. So for those people who are having mild illness and need to seek medical attention or whatever, then those could be helpful.”

Masks should be worn by people who are sick (to keep the droplets in), according to the Ministry of Health, “but wearing masks can give a healthy person a false sense of security – causing them to not use proper hand hygiene and social distancing that are effective in stopping the spread of the virus.”

Meanwhile, Vancouver Coastal Health has updated its guidelines for COVID-19 donations.

“We ask that all medical supplies donated are in new and unopened packaging. Please group items together (Ex: One box contains only masks, another box contains only gloves, etc.) as this will reduce the time for receiving and distribution. We ask that those with less than 5 boxes of items for donation to please keep for personal use. N95 masks can be received in smaller quantities. Hand-made items cannot be accepted.”

The European Centre for Disease Control released a report on mask and surgical equipment reusability and sterilization methods on Thursday.

“In one study, 40–90% of particles penetrated the mask. In a cluster randomised controlled trial, cases of influenza-like illness and laboratory-confirmed viral illness were significantly higher among healthcare workers using cloth masks compared to the ones using surgical masks,” says the report.