CHIEF Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Roshan Parasram urged citizens not to use surgical or N95 masks to protect themselves against the covid19 pandemic. People can however use masks made of cloth.
At a virtual news conference on Saturday, Parasram said, "Surgical masks and N95 masks are to be left for the medical practitioners."
In terms of mask usage by the general public, Parasram said said the Centre for Disease Control has advised people can use clothlike or homemade masks if they are going into high risk areas where there could be a high level of congregation.
Parasram identified supermarkets, markets, pharmacies and banks as some of those areas.
He supported Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh's point about protecting the residents of old-age homes from the coronavirus. Parasram said the data from Italy, showed that people age 60 and up were at the greatest risk to covid19.
He warned that if proper guidelines are not followed, the risk of spread in old aged homes will be rapid and the risk of death is great.
Parasram said there are now 93 covid19 patients in hospital. TT now has 101 cases. These include one in the ICU at Scarborough General Hospital, on a ventilator; Caura – 26 people all ambulatory, in a very good state; Couva – 66, two in ICU, one being ventilated, 11 people in the high dependency unit and 53 ambulatory patients.
Recently, designers such as Radical Designs have made a call for people who can sew to help make facemasks for the public.