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Alberta

Mask expert warns Dr. Deena Hinshaw mask use will not protect against COVID-19

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Chris Schaefer is the Director of  SafeCom Training Services Inc. in Edmonton.  He has sent this letter to Dr. Deana Hinshaw.  As an open letter it is also being circulated on social medias.  

Open Letter to Physicians and the Public of Alberta

Dear Dr. Hinshaw,

Re: Alberta Health recommendation that Albertans wear N95, surgical or non-medical masks in public to reduce the likelihood of transmitting or developing a condition from the coronavirus known as COVID-19

I have been teaching and conducting respirator fit testing for over 20 years and now currently for my company SafeCom Training Services Inc. My clients include many government departments, our military, healthcare providers with Alberta Health Services, educational institutions and private industry. I am a published author and a recognized authority on this subject.

Filter respirator masks, especially N95, surgical and non-medical masks, provide negligible COVID-19 protection for the following reasons:

  1. Viruses in the fluid envelopes that surround them can be very small, so small in fact that you would need an electron microscope to see them. N95 masks filter 95% of particles with a diameter of 0.3 microns or larger. COVID-19 particles are .08 – .12 microns.
  2. Viruses don’t just enter us through our mouth and nose, but can also enter through our eyes and even the pores of our skin. The only effective barrier one can wear to protect against virus exposure would be a fully encapsulated hazmat suit with cuffs by ankles taped to boots and cuffs by wrists taped to gloves, while receiving breathing air from a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA)  This barrier is standard gear to protect against a biohazard (viruses) and would have to be worn in a possible virus hazard environment 24/7 and you wouldn’t be able to remove any part of it even to have a sip of water, eat or use the washroom while in the virus environment. If you did, you would become exposed and would negate all the prior precautions you had taken.

     3.  Not only are N95, surgical and non-medical masks useless as protection from COVID-19, but in addition, they also create very real risks and possible serious threats to a wearer’s health for the following reasons

A.  Wearing these masks increases breathing resistance, making it more difficult to both inhale and exhale. According to our Alberta government regulations on respirator (mask) use, anyone that is required to wear a respirator mask should be screened to determine their ability to safely wear one.

Any covering of the mouth and nose increases breathing resistance, whether the mask is certified or not. Those individuals with pre-existing medical conditions of shortness of breath, lung disease, panic attacks, breathing difficulties, chest pain in exertion, cardiovascular disease, fainting spells, claustrophobia, chronic bronchitis, heart problems, asthma, allergies, diabetes, seizures, high blood pressure and pacemakers need to be pre-screened by a medical professional to be approved to be able to safely wear one. Wearing these masks could cause a medical emergency for anyone with any of these conditions.

Pregnancy-related high blood pressure is possible. More research is necessary to determine the impact of wearing a mask for extended periods of time on pregnancy.

It is dangerous to recommend, much less mandate anyone with medical conditions to wear a mask without educating them about the risks involved in wearing them without having been pre-screened and approved by a medical professional first.

B.  In order for any respirator mask to offer protection to a specific user, that user must be individually fitted with the right type, right size, if male – face must be clean shaven (only short moustache allowed). Next, the user must be fit tested with that respirator by a trained professional to determine whether or not the respirator is providing the user with an air- tight seal – a requirement for any respirator mask.

          C.  N95 masks – N for not resistant to oil particles, 95 for the percentage of protection – the lowest level of all respirator masks.

These masks even when properly sized and fitted will not protect against virus exposure, however they are capable of adequate protection from larger particles such as pet dander, pollen and sawdust.

Surgical masks (the paper ones that loop around the ears) – do not seal to the face and do not filter anything.

Nonmedical and/or homemade masks are dangerous because:

  • ●  Not engineered for the efficient yet protective requirements of easy inhalation and effective purging of exhaled carbon dioxide
  • ●  Could cause an oxygen deficiency for the user
  • ●  Could cause an accumulation of carbon dioxide for the user
  • ●  Shouldn’t be recommended under any circumstance

D. They increase body temperature and physical stress – could cause a high temperature alert on a thermometer gun

        E.  They impede verbal communication

F.  N95, surgical and nonmedical masks can create infections and possible disease all by themselves by causing exhaled warm, moist air to accumulate on the inside material of the mask, right in front of the user’s mouth and nose, which is the perfect environment for bacteria to form, grow and multiply. That is why N95 and other disposable masks were only designed to be short duration, specific task use and then immediately discarded.

So if masks are not effective in preventing illness, what is? How about the age-old tried, tested and proven method of protecting our health with a healthy diet, clean water, avoidance of processed, junk and fast foods, plenty of fresh air, sunshine, moderate exercise, adequate restful sleep and avoidance of stress?

We all have an immune system that can fight and overcome any COVID-19 threat if it is healthy and we nurture it.

Thank you for reading this open letter and letting me share my expertise. I ask that you share this with the public via media statement as we are all committed to promoting good health for all Albertans. If you or any of the public wish to contact me with a question or comment, I would love to hear from you. I can best be reached [email protected]

Sincerely,

Chris Schaefer
Director
SafeCom Training Services Inc.

 

COVID-19 – Are we too cautious or too careless?

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Alberta

Alberta's top doctor says COVID-19 cases receding but vigilance needed at Halloween

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says COVID-19 case numbers in the province continue to recede.

But Dr. Deena Hinshaw cautions that the hospital situation remains precarious given the high number of patients.

And she says Albertans can’t afford to let up on health restrictions, particularly with Halloween coming up.

There were 770 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday for a new total of 10,434 active cases.

There were eight more deaths, bringing that total to 3,014.

Alberta Health Services says there are 912 people in hospital with COVID-19, and that 201 of them are in intensive care.

Alberta remains under gathering restrictions for indoor and outdoor events, and Hinshaw says it’s important to stick to those limits at Halloween.

Hinshaw urged those setting out candy for trick or treaters to not use bowls, but to set out the candy spaced apart on a surface like a blanket.

She says those who want to have a Halloween party should consider a small gathering of vaccinated people.

“This is not the year for large Halloween parties,” Hinshaw said.

“If you’re planning a Halloween gathering try to have it outdoors and make sure the limit of no more than 20 people is observed.”

Hinshaw noted that last Oct. 31 there were 5,600 active COVID-19 cases, about half the current total. There were 141 people in hospital with the illness a year ago.

Alberta continues to battle a fourth wave of the pandemic.

It has more than doubled the normal number of 173 critical care beds and has had to cancel thousands of non-urgent surgeries to handle the surge.

Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley says with winter coming and COVID-19 still circulating, the province needs to provide stable funding to social agencies for winter emergency shelters.

“All people deserve to live in dignity and have a safe place to call home,” said Notley. “These calls are urgent. It’s getting cold outside, and our northern winter will be here soon.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 21, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Canadian women's hockey team kicks off nine-game, pre-Olympic series against U.S.

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CALGARY — Games that will determine the roster of Canada’s 2022 Olympic women’s hockey team will include nine against archrival United States.

Canada opens its pre-Olympic series against the U.S. on Friday in Allentown, Pa., followed by another clash Monday in Hartford, Conn.

The Canadians meet the Americans for the first time since edging them 3-2 in overtime for the gold medal in the women’s world championship final Aug. 31 in Calgary.

Canada’s women won four straight Olympic hockey gold medals from 2002 to 2014 before the U.S. beat the Canadians in a shootout for the title in 2018.

Twenty-nine Canadian players are centralized in Calgary training full time for Beijing’s Winter Olympics in February.

Goaltenders Ann-Renée Desbiens of La Malbaie, Que., Emerance Maschmeyer of Bruderheim, Alta., and Kristen Campbell of Brandon, Man., are Beijing-bound, but competing for coveted Olympic starts.

Six skaters will be released in December to get to the 23-player Olympic roster. 

Canada travels to Finland for a three-game series against its women’s national side Nov. 11-14.

The Canadians host the Americans on Nov. 21 in Kingston, Ont., and Nov. 23 in Ottawa. 

The series resumes in the U.S. with games Dec. 16 and 18 in St. Louis, and Dec. 20 in St. Paul, Minn.

The series wraps in Canada on Jan. 3 in Edmonton and Jan. 6 in Red Deer, Alta..

A pair of games against an all-star team of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association (PWHPA) are scheduled for December with dates yet to be confirmed.

The women’s schedule released Thursday by Hockey Canada also includes three more games against male Junior A clubs: Oct. 29 against the Olds Grizzlies; Nov. 3 against the Camrose Kodiaks; and Jan. 10 versus the Calgary Canucks.

The Canadian women lost two games to B.C. junior teams earlier this month and dropped another game to an AJHL club earlier this week.

“We believe we have put together a plan that will challenge us physically and give us a level of competition that pushes our team to be at our best,” said Gina Kingsbury, Hockey Canada’s director of women’s hockey operations.

“This is an opportunity to evaluate ourselves as we face high-calibre teams, and we are grateful to all the groups who are part of our journey.”

Canada opens the Olympic women’s hockey tournament Feb. 3 against Switzerland.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 21, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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