Local health care representatives are urging all Peterborough-area residents over the age of two to wear a mask for in-person medical appointments.
The recommendation for patients to wear non-medical masks is being made by the Peterborough Family Health Team, Peterborough Public Health, and Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC).
The Ontario Ministry of Health recommends a face covering — a non-medical mask — to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission when maintaining physical distancing of two metres from others is difficult.
While a non-medical mask does not protect you from illness, it will help prevent the spread of illness from yourself to others, including other patients and health care professionals.
Wearing a non-medical mask also helps preserve certified personal protective equipment for health care workers and support staff.
It is important to wear a non-medical mask properly to ensure it’s as effective as possible, and to wash a fabric mask after you use it. This video from PRHC explains how to wear, handle, and care for a non-medical mask:
Family doctors and nurse practitioners who are part of the Peterborough Family Health Team are available to help patients who need medical attention. The team is offering virtual/phone assessments as well as safe in-person appointments when needed.
The Peterborough Family Health Team reminds residents that seeking timely medical attention can help prevent unnecessary complications that could result in a visit to the hospital’s emergency department.
For its part, PRHC continues to provide all hospital patients and visitors with a handmade mask when they go through entrance screening. Thanks to community support, PRHC has distributed more than 20,000 donated handmade masks to patients and visitors since the beginning of April.
If you want to make your own fabric mask, you can find instructions on the PRHC website.
If you don’t want to make your own mask, several local organizations in Peterborough are also currently making and selling fabric masks (see below). You may also be able to find non-medical masks at pharmacies and office supply stores.Organizations in Peterborough making, donating, and selling handmade masks