"Very few" medical conditions that prevent ability to wear a mask: Dr. Henry

Oct 8 2020, 5:12 pm

On the same day BC recorded 110 new coronavirus cases in the province, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry spoke again about mask wearing and “medical conditions” that may prevent someone from donning a face cover.

Essentially “there’s very few medical conditions that make people unable to wear a non-medical mask,” she said during an afternoon press conference on Thursday.

However, “there are things that may make it challenging or difficult for people – more than a medical condition,” she said.

These can include issues around “not being physically able to put it on or take [the mask] off – we see that with young children, but we also see it with certain people with disabilities, and there’s different types of disabilities that may not be apparent to people that make it challenging for them to wear a mask.”

That being said, “most of the medical conditions that people have concerns about – like lung conditions or heart disease – we know that those are not negatively affected by mask wearing.”

Henry also recognized that “there’s been things on social media about carbon dioxide increasing, or re-inhaling the virus due to mask wearing, but those things are not concerns.”

She maintained that BC has no plans to mandate the use of mask in places such as indoor public spaces, “but we have put out the conditions where we think it is important for people to wear them, and that includes those indoor spaces where you can’t consistently maintain your physical distance.”

Ultimately, “we know that masks in and of themselves are not a single thing that is going to solve all our problems, but they do need to be taken as one of the measures that can make a difference,” she said.

Henry’s comments come the same day that the total number of recorded cases in the province hit 10,066.

Henry said that broken down by health region, this equates to 3,693 cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 5,174 in the Fraser Health region, 223 in the Island Health region, 557 in the Interior Health region, 330 in the Northern Health region, and 89 cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

There are 1,394 active cases of COVID-19, and 3,319 people are currently self-isolating.

Currently, 76 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19, 17 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

There has been one new COVID-19-related death, for a total of 245 deaths in British Columbia.

A total of 8,398 people who tested positive have now recovered.

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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