Coronavirus: Toronto hospital creates alternative to N95 using snorkel masks

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Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre staff say an alternative to the N95 mask has been developed by using a modified full-face snorkel mask for health-care workers to potentially use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hospital staff told Global News Radio 640 Toronto the alternative mask was developed due to a limited supply of N95 masks in the world and the coronavirus outbreak still going strong.

“This is an unprecedented time that is highlighting the need for innovative solutions to the challenges health-care workers are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Brian Courtney, a cardiologist, engineer and scientist at Sunnybrook.

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Courtney is partnered with Dr. Brian Li, who is an engineer and interventional cardiologist fellow at Sunnybrook. Their team is also working to potentially create tie-back surgical masks in-house.

“In an ideal scenario, we wouldn’t need to use either of these masks. But in case we run out, we are developing alternatives that would allow us to keep doing procedures, look after our patients, and keep our health-care workers safe,” said Courtney.


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The snorkel masks Courtney and the team are using were donated by Canadian Tire.

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