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Don’t get lulled into false sense of security with homemade masks amid coronavirus pandemic: WRHA

A woman wearing a mask.
A woman wearing a mask. Getty

Thinking of wearing a cloth mask while you’re out in public?

Manitoba health officials say it won’t do much to protect you from the novel coronavirus, but it still has its benefits.

“It’s basically another way of covering a cough or a sneeze,” said Dr. Marcia Anderson, medical officer of health at the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

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“If you are out — and you don’t have symptoms, so you don’t know you’re carrying the virus — that cloth mask can stop you from spreading the virus to others.”

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Anderson said it’s important people don’t get lulled into a false sense of security by a mask, and that covering your face should be used on top of other safety measures — not as a replacement for them.

“(Masks should be worn) in addition to the evidence-based, strong recommendations that are already in place around physical distancing, frequent handwashing, and frequent disinfecting of commonly touched surfaces,” she said.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — One new case, masks now encouraged outside in Manitoba

Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief medical health officer, said Monday that Manitobans should consider wearing masks to protect others from COVID-19 — but self-isolation is still the main way to stay safe.

“Please do not let this distract from the main message,” said Roussin, “and that is to stay home.”

Health officials are also asking Manitobans not to wear specialized N95 medical masks because those need to be saved for workers on the front lines.

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Coronavirus outbreak: Manitoba health official encourages people to wear non-medical face mask to prevent COVID-19 spread
Coronavirus outbreak: Manitoba health official encourages people to wear non-medical face mask to prevent COVID-19 spread