• Dr Laura Chin-Lenn

COVID-19 and Masks

A post written July 19 2020

As per recent local government recommendations we will be wearing masks during your appointments. We will also ask you to wear a mask.

We have hand-made, cloth masks available for our patients who do not have one.  These have an internal insert for a tissue as a filter to make a third removable layer.

It can be uncomfortable for people not used to wearing a mask, to wear one. It is important to handle them by the side straps and not touch the front of the mask. You do get used to the slightly claustrophobic feeling with time.  It is also to be used when around people, so if you’re going for a walk in the fresh air alone or with someone from your household, then you don’t need to wear it.

It is important to adhere to “The W’s” (credit Dr Marion Kainer)

  • Wash your hands

  • Watch your distance and wait >1.5m from others

  • Wear protection (mask / eye protection)

  • Walk away if others don’t do this

  • Watch your hands (don’t touch your face!)

  • Wipe down high use surfaces

  • WWW (order online)

Here are some more important guidelines and care for cloth masks (please click to magnify):




Mask wearing in the community has been controversial.  People in many Asian countries have been routinely wearing them, even pre-COVID, after previous pandemics such as H1N1 (bird flu). The USA CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) advocated the use of cloth masks in the community in early April and many communities there have been mask-making.

In Australia our “first wave” was mainly returned travellers and contacts of those, and there was little evidence at that point of “community transmission” – or – people who got COVID-19 from an “unknown” source.  As of last week the WHO have recommended wearing masks at the direction of local authorities, and our Victorian authorities have now recommended wearing masks where social distancing cannot be adhered to, as we have evidence of more community transmission. The directive for the use of cloth masks for the public rather than medical disposable masks is to preserve our precious PPE (personal protective equipment) for those healthcare workers who need it to look after unwell people.

Personally, I have always thought that there is little harm from wearing masks, if other measures (social distancing and proper mask wearing) are adhered to. We have had our cloth masks for patients available for some time, but I have not offered them to patients previously based on our local situation and government recommendations.

For more information regarding mask-wearing and mask-making please see:

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html




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