scarf mask

Public health: No, a scarf does not replace a mask

Montreal public health provides pandemic guidelines for the winter ahead.

Montreal public health director Dr. Mylene Drouin led a press conference to provide an update on the COVID-19 situation in the city, and given the arrival of winter weather, she included some winter guidelines for virus prevention measures.

  • A scarf is not an adequate replacement for a mask
  • Wearing gloves doesn’t mean you can stop washing your hands regularly
  • Lowering masks in order to eat or drink on public transit is not recommended

Drouin also said that the city is maintaining something of a plateau when it comes to new COVID-19 infections, with the seven-day average being 270. Despite there still being “hot zone” neighbourhoods, positivity rates across Montreal is down. The city is currently following 254 outbreaks — many of them quite small, involving 5 to 10 people: 74 in schools, 21 in daycares, 40 in health care settings and 109 in workplaces.

On the subject of testing, Drouin advised anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms to get tested immediately, as studies have found that people tend to wait 2.5 days between the onset of symptoms and testing. She also recommended against testing for those who are asymptomatic, as some have been doing ahead of visiting friends and family. A negative test can provide a false sense of security, she says. ■

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