Covid-19 Update | First Aid Care
Great news! First Aid Certification has been extended to December 31st. This mainly applies to people whose current certification expired after March 1st of this year.
The Ontario government recently announced that first aid providers in certain regions will be included in phase two of reopening the province, and have permission to reopen and resume in-class first aid training.
These areas won’t include Toronto or any of the bigger cities due to obvious risk of spreading the virus. According to WSIB, they are working closely with all first aid providers and have developed resources and protocols to ensure that in-person training can safely restart as soon as possible.
While in-person training is now being permitted — in certain regions of Ontario — WSIB encourages providers to continue delivering the Blended or Online training where it is possible to do so. We are also encouraging first aid providers to prioritize access to people and organizations working in front line, essential services.
How to keep yourself safe during in-person training
When one signs up for an in-person first aid course you are going to automatically expose yourself to certain risks. If you live within the Region of Peel then a by-law is going to compel anyone in a public space to wear a mask.
For those who have to wear them, non-medical masks would include a face covering such as a balaclava, bandana or similar items that cover the nose, mouth and chin.
Mayor Bonnie Crombie said the move was a precautionary measure to help avoid another wave of COVID-19.
“We have businesses that are open,” she said. “We want to ensure that they stay open.”
If you reside in Toronto, know that wearing a mask or face covering will be required in indoor public spaces beginning July 7, 2020 under City of Toronto By-Law 541-2020 . The mask or face covering should cover your nose, mouth and chin, without gapping. Wearing a mask or face covering is an additional measure we can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep each other safe. This means that, with some exceptions, all customers or visitors entering an indoor premise are required to wear a mask or face covering while inside.
5 Things to keep in mind about wearing a mask:
My Mask Protects You and Your Mask Protects Me
As we move to Stage 2 of reopening, more people are returning to work, reconnecting, moving around the city and using public transit. This is making physical distancing more challenging, or nearing impossible. The risk of spreading COVID-19 is greater indoors as there is less air flow and ventilation, more crowding, and a greater chance of touching surfaces that have been contaminated by respiratory droplets.
Wearing masks or face coverings indoors helps us keep our respiratory droplets to ourselves to prevent spreading germs to others. There is evidence that cloth masks can reduce the spread of respiratory droplets into the air and landing on surfaces. Jurisdictions that have legislated mandatory masks have seen a decrease in new COVID-19 cases.
The use of masks/face coverings is non-invasive, inexpensive, and can help save lives. Masks may also serve as a visual reminder to everyone that we need to be vigilant and continue to maintain physical distance.
Non-medical Masks or Face Coverings
Non-medical masks or face coverings can help keep your respiratory droplets to yourself and protect others when we are unable to maintain physical distancing. The general public should wear non-medical (cloth) masks or face coverings when going to public places, and when entering enclosed public settings. Non-medical masks or face coverings can be made with household items or purchased materials. It is important to use and clean a mask properly (see below). Using a mask incorrectly can accidentally spread infection to the wearer.
Do not use N95 and surgical masks as they are in limited supply, and are urgently needed for healthcare workers. Also be respectful of people who are not wearing a mask. Some health conditions make breathing through a mask difficult.
Keeping yourself safe |First Aid Care
Qualities of a Good Cloth Mask or Face Covering
A good cloth mask or face covering should:
- Be at least two layers of tightly woven cotton or linen.
- Cover over nose, mouth and chin, and be easy to breathe through.
- Fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops without gaping or impairing vision.
- Be comfortable to avoid the need for adjustments when wearing.
- Maintain their shape after washing and drying.
- Not contain non-breathable materials such as plastic.
For instructions on making a mask using fabric, a t-shirt or a bandana, visit the Government of Canada website.
Proper Use of a Mask or Face Covering
- Do not share your mask with others.
- Wash your hands before putting on and after taking off a mask.
- Place the mask over your nose, mouth and chin.
- Avoid touching your face and mask while using it.
- Change your mask as soon as it is moist or dirty.
- Do not leave your mask tucked under the chin, hanging from your ear, or on your forehead.
- Remove the mask by the ear loops without touching the front of the mask.
- Put used mask in a plastic bag or directly in the laundry bin to be washed.
- Launder cloth masks with other items using the hot cycle and dryer.
People Who Should Not Use Face Masks
- Children under the age of two.
- Anyone who has trouble breathing or cannot remove the mask without assistance.
Use of Face Shields as an Alternative to Masks
A face shield is not an alternative to a mask. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that they “do not recommend use of face shields as a substitute for cloth face coverings . It is not known if face shields protect others from the spray of respiratory particles. The CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings.”
- Download the How to Safely Wear a Cloth Mask or Face Covering infographic
- Download the Qualities of a Good Cloth Mask infographic
- Learn about non-medical masks and face coverings
- Learn about the use of face masks and coverings during travel
In-person training – when should you refuse to attend the course
- The training space is too small with little to no ventilation.
- The course is too full. While 18 participants is the maximum allowed for one First Aid Instructor, more participants can attend, but then more instructors are required. The Canadian Red Cross ratio for participants vs instructors is 18 to 1. However, due to COVID-19, areas that are allowed to restart in-person training, must reduce the amount of participants with each course. The practice would allow for safe social distancing.
- The Instructor isn’t wearing a mask and shows little to no regard for the need to wear one.
- The Training Partner or instructor hasn’t sufficient masks and gloves so that each participant has their own.
- Participants are sharing manikins.
- Participants are sharing bandages, epi-pens and other equipment that poses a risk for the spread of the virus.
- No disinfectant is available during the course.
- If you feel at risk in any way exit the course and request a full refund.