Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam wears a mask as she waits to answer questions as an update is provided during the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canadian health authorities now urge using 3-layer masks

The Public Health Agency of Canada is now recommending Canadians wear non-medical face masks made of three layers of materials, including a filter, as the number of coronavirus infections in the country continues to grow unabated.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said to improve the level of protection that can be provided by non-medical masks or face coverings the federal agency has updated its recommendations.

According to these new guidelines, two layers of the mask should be made of a tightly woven fabric, such as cotton or linen, and the middle layer should be a filter-type fabric, such as non-woven polypropylene fabric.

“This is an additional recommendation, just to add another layer of protection,” Tam said.

The Public Health Agency posted detailed instructions on making face coverings at home using readily available materials such as old T-shirts.

“The science of masks has really accelerated during this particular pandemic. So we’re just learning again as we go,” Tam said.

“I do think that because it’s winter, because we’re all going inside, we’re learning more about droplets and aerosols.”

She also urged Canadians to wear well-fitted masks that cover the nose, mouth and chin.

“I keep emphasizing the fit is one of the most important things,” Tam said. “It fits around your mouth, on your nose, and it has to cover your mouth and nose. So that’s really important.”

On Tuesday, Canada reported more than 240,000 COVID-19 cases and 10,200 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, Tam said.

There were more than 30,000 active cases across the country, with the majority of infections in Quebec and Ontario but with rapidly growing numbers in Western Canada as well.

The pandemic situation in Atlantic and Northern Canada remained stable with only a handful of cases in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as in Yukon and the Northwest Territories. Prince Edward Island and the Arctic territory of Nunavut were the only two jurisdictions without any active cases of COVID-19.

With files from CBC News

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