The coronavirus outbreak triggered a global pandemic that has affected every country, putting significant strain on financial, economic, and healthcare systems. There have been over 42 million confirmed global cases of COVID-19, with more cases appearing each day. Coronavirus continues to wreak havoc around the world. The United States is among the worst hit by the pandemic, but it’s far from the only problem area.
The pandemic has had a significant impact on Canada – and Canadians alike. The federal government took a proactive approach to fight the pandemic and reduce the risk of infection. Mask mandates and limitations on social gathering are the most common – and effective – restriction measures.
What is the ECAN95 Mask?
The ECAN95 mask is the Canadian equivalent of an N95 mask. The mask was developed and manufactured by the Eternity Medical Equipment Company based in Surrey, British Columbia. This new mask is the first Canadian-made respirator mask approved for use by the Canadian federal government. While other companies have attempted to replicate the N95 mask, this mask is the first to pass the test.
The British Columbia government has purchased over eight million masks since the start of the pandemic. One problem with these masks is that they are all imported. Now, the ECAN95 mask provides the government and the average Canadian citizen with a local source for coronavirus face masks. The materials used to produce the masks are imported from outside Canada, but the majority of the assembly and manufacturing happens in a Canadian facility.
The company behind the ECAN95 masks, Eternity Medical Equipment, is a startup that launched last November in Campbell Heights. The company started production of its ECAN95 particulate respirator masks in December. The masks were extensively tested by the government and independent bodies, including tests at a CSA Group facility based in Toronto. The results for these tests showed that the masks met all the relevant standards, including airflow resistance, filtering efficiency, and quantitative fit. The masks are easy to put on and filter particulates effectively.
Eternity Medical Equipment was founded by a group including co-founder Jeffrey Wang, who says the company was founded in response to how difficult it is for frontline Canadian workers to import masks. The company wanted to create a local solution for Canadians.
All the ECAN95 masks are produced in a state-of-the-art facility that Eternity Medical Equipment claims can produce up to 2.5 million masks per month at full capacity. While the masks have yet to receive certification from the Centre for Disease Control’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the group expects it is just a matter of time.
These days, a lot of popular reputable online retailers for PPE like 72hours.ca sell the ECAN95 mask on their website as well.
All of their masks passed the following tests:
- TEB-APR-STP-0007 Inhalation Resistance
- Test TEB-APR-STP-0003 Exhalation Resistance
- Test TEB-APR-STP-0059 N95 Series
As a Canadian, you can easily order them from the comfort of your couch and get them delivered to your doorstep within a few days.
Coronavirus Risk for Canadians
The novel coronavirus represents a serious health risk for every Canadian, young, and old. Older people and people with chronic medical conditions are at an ever-greater risk of becoming severely ill from the virus. This doesn’t mean that young people are naturally immune, however. Even if they were, there is still the risk that asymptomatic young people could pass the virus on to older relatives.
The coronavirus situation continues to evolve daily and has had a significant impact on everyday life – to the point the world is almost embracing a “new normal” and things may never go back to how they were before. The risk of coronavirus varies between social, economic, and occupational circumstances as well. It affects some groups disproportionately to others.
Research suggests that most Canadians are also concerned about the potential economic impact of the disease. Others are also concerned about being unable to see friends and family. The potential of catching the coronavirus is also a major concern.
How Does the ECAN95 Mask Work?
How an ECAN95 mask protects Canadians is similar to the working process of a standard N95 mask. These masks attract microscopic particles and trap them with a layer of fibers. These fibers are arranged just so to better increase the chances of catching the particles as they pass through. Short-range electrostatic forces keep the particles stuck to the fibers.
The flight path of particles varies depending on the size of the particles. Some are more likely to travel in a straight line and continue on this inertial path. Others move in a more scattered pattern known as Brownian motion. Brownian motion is caused by particles hitting air molecules and being redirected by them.
The ECAN95 is also effective against medium-sized microscopic particles. The mask generates electrostatic attraction with an electric field that creates dipole-dipole interactions for capturing medium-sized particles. The “95” in the name refers to how many medium-sized aerosolized particles the mask effectively captures. This means that the mask catches equivalent to or greater than 95% of particles in the air. This electrical field for capturing medium-sized particles is also why you cannot wash an N95 mask with bleach or soapy water.
Don’t forget that the main determining factor in how effective a mask is, whether it’s an N95 or ECAN95, is how you wear it. Make sure that the mask is fitted properly and covers your mouth and nose. You might have to trim your beard a bit to get it in, but that’s okay. Your beard will grow back, but you don’t know what will happen if you get corona.
Canada’s Road to Recovery
People from across the world are living and continuing to adapt to the new way of life. Businesses, communities, families, governments, and individual people have all been affected by the pandemic. Everyone is also responding to that challenge and continuing to thrive.
While masks and vaccines aren’t an overnight solution to the pandemic and it could still be several months before we’re “home free,” the ECAN95 mask is an important tool on the road to recovery. Remember to wear a mask and adhere to social distancing. The sooner we all adopt the changes the sooner we can get back to normal. Or whatever passes for normal now.