As Canadians continue to abide with emergency measures to combat COVID-19, an entire population of health care professionals continue to face the toughest challenges of all.
Since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic in early March of this year, the virus has spread worldwide, filling hospital emergency rooms and creating genuine concern over the safety of frontline workers.
Dr. Stephanie Smith, anAssociate Professor at the University of Alberta, and Director of Infection Prevention and Control and the University of Alberta Hospital is leading a study to compare N95 respirators to surgical masks worn by healthcare workers caring for patients with suspect or confirmed COVID-19. At the beginning of the study, participants will have a blood test done to detect antibodies against COVID-19 or SARS COV 2. They will then be randomized either a N95 respirator or surgical mask to wear for their routine care of patients with COVID-19 for a six month period. During this time, participants will be asked to monitor symptoms and notify researchers if any develop, at which time they will be tested for COVID-19.
The study comes at a time where the global demand for N95 masks continues to rise. Smith hopes the study will help researchers understand when N95 masks need to be used so there can be one universal standardized recommendation.
This study is recruiting healthcare professionals who have been in direct contact with either suspect or confirmed COVID-19 patients, particularly nurses and physicians. Those interested in participating can get full study details, including contact information in the COVID-19 Studies section of the Be the Cure website. Once participation has been confirmed, arrangements to get lab work done and review and sign consent forms will be handled onsite at the University of Alberta Hospital.
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