Saskatchewan physicians urge residents to wear masks

The Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) has launched a campaign, reminding the public to wear a mask this fall when physical distancing is not possible to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Wearing a mask is another tool each of us can use to keep one another safe,” SMA president and Regina physician Dr. Barb Konstantynowicz said in a press release Tuesday.

Read more: ‘Please wear a mask’ — Saskatchewan Medical Association calls for increased vigilance

The SMA hung banners encouraging mask use across two major Saskatoon streets: Second Avenue downtown and Broadway Avenue. Messages were also placed on billboards in Saskatoon and Regina.

Additionally, posters were placed in doctors’ offices across the province and a series of videos will be launched in a few weeks.

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The campaign includes banners over 2nd Ave and Broadway in Saskatoon as well as billboards in Saskatoon and Regina, and posters sent to physician clinics across the province for display.

Posted by Saskatchewan Medical Association on Tuesday, September 22, 2020

According to a press release, the SMA, which represents physicians in Saskatchewan, urges mask use along with handwashing, physical distancing, limiting contact with others and avoiding crowds.

The SMA adds that with flu season approaching, there is the possibility of a “twindemic” — a concern for physicians.

Read more: 6th coronavirus transmission alert in Regina in 3 days

“Vulnerable populations are at risk from the flu during a normal flu season,” Konstantynowicz said.

“We do not know how COVID-19 will affect the annual flu season.”

It’s not just doctors expressing their concern. On Tuesday, Regina Mayor Michael Fougere also reiterated the message of the importance of wearing masks.

In just the past couple of weeks, Fougere said the city has seen a spike in the number of community transmissions of the coronavirus, with only one case on Sept. 7 and 24 as of Tuesday.

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Read more: Possible COVID-19 exposure on Regina transit, Saskatchewan Health Authority says

“We just want to remind residents to please take care out there, please follow best practices, continue to wear your mask where you can, wash your hands, keep your distance from people. Those things are so vitally important,” Fougere said.

“The masks don’t protect you, they protect someone else. It’s being altruistic and thinking about other people around you.”

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

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