Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Hazel Laws said that the coronavirus can remain present and infectious on the outer layer of masks for up to seven days according to the Lancet Microbe. The CMO also referenced a study published in the American Journal on Infection Control that noted that people touch their face 23 times per hour on average.
“I’m sharing this to underscore the need for us to manage our facemasks properly,” Dr Laws stated. “Those of us who wear the disposable facemasks, it is important for us to discard of them properly in the bin and always wash your hands after taking off the facemask.”
The CMO also shared advice to persons wearing non-pharmaceutical cloth masks.
“Those of us who wear the cloth of the fabric facemask, I would recommend that you launder or wash these masks at the end of every day. Do not reuse a facemask two or three or four days in a row,” she said.
CMO Laws added that hands should also be washed thoroughly after removing cloth masks.
The wearing of facemasks in public is mandated by the COVID-19 Emergency Powers.