Scarves don't serve as effective face mask replacements: Montreal public health

Nov 25 2020, 7:16 pm

Scarves, gloves, and neckwarmers are good to protect against the cold but not against COVID-19 transmission.

As the winter weather starts to crank up and the temperatures begin to drop, public health is reminding citizens that scarves do not serve as an effective face mask replacement. During a Wednesday afternoon COVID-19 briefing, Montreal’s Public Health Director, Mylène Drouin, specified that face masks still need to be worn throughout the winter.

Drouin says public health has been receiving a lot of messages and comments in regards to how effective traditional winter garb is against the virus.

“I want to specify, even if we wear a scarf or a neckwarmer, it does not replace the effectiveness of a face mask,” said Drouin in French from Montreal. “Studies have shown us they are not effective enough.”

She continued to stress the importance of washing hands and maintaining proper physical distancing even while wearing winter gear. She says even if Montrealers are wearing gloves outside, they still should “remain vigilant” and wash their hands frequently.

Drouin says, “most of the cases” within Montreal are of the community transmission variety, citing that nearly half (42%) of Montreal’s COVID-19 cases are being transferred through “social context.”

She says the city’s hospitalizations are still “under pressure” but says prediction models do not indicate “we will go beyond capacity.”Drouin says Montreal’s cases have plateaued at around the 270-per-day mark.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said in terms of the holidays, “the fewer gatherings we have, the better it is.”

Plante says the coming weeks will be “crucial” and hopes we can decrease the number of contacts and cases leading up to the holidays. “Of course, we want to reduce the impact of the little holiday gift we are giving ourselves,” she said in French.

Plante concluded that Montrealers need to continue to show solidarity and work “very hard” over the next few weeks to start decreasing numbers.

“The situation is fragile right now, we know people are tired, there’s less daylight, and morale is low. But we have to keep hope. That’s my meagre for you today.”

Plante says she will present the city’s outdoor programming on Thursday, which will add lights and sounds to local parks with “plenty of outdoor activities to offer” during Montreal’s cold winter months.

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