Dr. Bonnie Henry said Wednesday that the World Health Organization and the United States Centers for Disease Control are moving towards more widespread use of masks by people during the pandemic.
“This is something that we have also considered, knowing what is going on in the world,” she said at a press conference.
Henry announced Wednesday that B.C. has 53 new COVID-19 cases and one death.
She said there are now 1,066 COVID-19 cases in the province and 25 deaths, while 606 people have recovered.
Canadian public health officials, including Henry, have previously stated that people who feel good do not need to wear masks in public.
Henry said that physical distance, frequent hand washing and resistance to touching your face are the proven methods of preventing the transmission of the new coronavirus.
“If you are going to wear them, it can help reduce the droplets that you throw into the environment and if someone is infected and has mild symptoms or is at the onset of the disease, it can prevent you from throwing away those droplets” she said. “It’s probably OK. “
But Henry said that homemade or non-medical masks are not proven to provide the wearer “any protection.”
She said the supply of approved medical masks and respirators is tenuous and should be restricted to medical workers, COVID-19 patients and others working in health care.
Henry warned that COVID-19 home test kits have not been proven.
“There are no home test kits that have been validated to my knowledge,” she said. “The problem is that they now have false positive and false negative tests. There is potentially a role to play at these times. There is none right now that is good enough to be used in our communities. “
Henry said the province is struggling with COVID-19, but there are still several critical weeks to go before the restrictions are lifted. She said any reduction in restrictions should be done in a way that prevents the spread of the new coronavirus.
She said Tuesday that a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people and closings of restaurants and bars may be in place until the summer. She also said that a second wave of the virus could arrive in the fall.
Henry said she expects to publicly introduce an ethical framework in the coming days to guide doctors and others who may have to make life and death decisions about patients during the pandemic.
“Part of that has to do with the structure of how these decisions will be made so that no clinician or healthcare worker has to make these terrible decisions alone,” she said. “It will be done in a setting that respects the value of each individual life.”
Coast Mountain Bus Company, which operates more than 96% of Metro Vancouver’s bus service, said Wednesday that two of its employees tested positive for COVID-19.
According to the report, a person works at the Burnaby transit center and a bus operator from Port Coquitlam revealed that he had tested positive.
The company said all of the workplaces that employees came into contact with had been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.