Island Health says its workers can’t accept homemade masks

Island Health is advising well-meaning crafters that it cannot accept homemade masks that are not medical grade.

“We are extremely appreciative at the outpouring of support and generous offers of people wanting to sew masks for our staff,” said Cheryl Bloxham, spokeswoman for Island Health. “Island Health staff require medical-grade personal protective equipment, including masks. Many manufacturers are ramping up production, so we are anticipating that appropriate supplies will be available as needed.”

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According to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, homemade masks should only be used as a last resort to prevent droplet transmission from infected individuals.

Front-line health-care workers treating people suspected of being infected with COVID-19 would typically wear medical mask, eye protection and a gown to protect themselves and other patients.

People can donate masks to workers who don’t require medical-grade protection — such as those working in veterinary clinics — so as to reduce demand for the approved equipment.

For more answers to common questions about COVID-19, including recommendations on masks, go to

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