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Canada's top doctor now recommends three mask layers masks for COVID-19 protection

'This is an additional recommendation, just to add another layer of protection,' says Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam
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Dr. Theresa Tam now recommends Canadians use triple-layer face masks. File photo by Dan Toulgoet

The nation’s top doctor updated her non-medical mask recommendations Tuesday, saying they should be made of at least three layers – one to act as a filter.

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, is stressing the importance of extra protection against COVID-19 as the country spends more time indoors this winter.

“We’re not necessarily saying throw out everything that you have,” Tam said during a news conference.

"This is an additional recommendation, just to add another layer of protection."

People currently using two-layered masks do not need to throw them in the trash but should purchase a disposable filter to insert between the layers, she said.

The fit is the most important thing, emphasized Tam.

This includes full coverage of the nose and mouth as well as comfort, breathability, and ideally, a nose pinch option.

Face coverings should be made of two layers of tightly-woven fabric like cotton or linen, plus a third layer of a filter-type material such as polypropylene, according to The Public Health Agency of Canada.