Feds readying to recommend contact tracing app

A discarded face mask is shown on a street next to a mobile COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal Sunday

Dr. Theresa Tam said the new recommendation comes as stay-at-home orders are lifting in different provinces and more people are going outside, riding public transit, or visiting stores.

Statistics Canada has also provided 1,700 interviewers who can make 20,000 calls per day to help with contact-tracing efforts, Trudeau said. That understanding has changed, as it is now known people without symptoms can transmit the virus to others.

He said in his experience, most people are more than willing to lower their masks for a quick second for you provided the circumstance is safe to do so. "It is not a recommendation, it is a permissive use, if you will".

The wearing of non-medical masks was a hot topic during an Island Health video-streamed COVID-19 town hall on Tuesday night, featuring health authority CEO Kathy MacNeil and chief medical health officer Dr. Richard Stanwick and hosted by Comox-Courtenay MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard and Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick. He said he would take it off during the sitting, because he would be a suitable distance from any other MP.

Canada is not making masks mandatory, said Tam, though local health officials can do so if they believe it warranted, particularly in places where community transmission of the virus is continuing.

She also warned that wearing a mask won't protect an individual from infection on its own, and stressed that physical distancing remains fundamental.

Some countries have made wearing face masks mandatory in public, including Spain, which enacted such a rule this week.

She stressed that a face mask is not to replace other measures like physical distancing, handwashing and staying out of public places when you can.

She said that there are some tips to help people with asthma wear a mask.

"In addition, where COVID-19 activity is occurring, use of non-medical masks or face coverings is recommended as an added layer of protection when physical distancing is hard to maintain".

Responding to the need to increase the capacity to trace any possible contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government will soon be "strongly recommending" Canadians download a to-be-determined monitoring and exposure notification app.

Face masks are unsafe to the health of some Canadians and problematic for some others.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, and Dr. Howard Njoo, deputy chief public health officer, are making a "recommendation" that Canadians wear a non-medical mask when they can not maintain a two-metre physical distance.

"We need to rapidly detect and control the virus for any future outbreaks", Trudeau said.

Advocacy groups are asking people to be considerate of those who are not able to wear face coverings for various reasons amid the COVID-19 pandemic.



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