Who gets left in, who’s left out and just how many people should you keep in your COVID-19 cohort?
While the province has restricted indoor and outdoor gathering sizes to no more than 10 people as of Sept. 28, many questions still swirl around keeping a close inner-circle during a pandemic.
Some Winnipeggers are already keeping their bubbles close-knit.
“I (have) four kids and a husband, so we’re a good-sized family and then I got some extended family (in our cohort),” Winnipegger Tasha Woodhouse said.
“I have a really small social bubble,” another told Global News. “It’s me and my wife and my son.”
EPI Research Inc. epidemiologist and founder Cynthia Carr says there are numerous factors to consider, including the community transmission rate in your area, as well as the age range of people within your cohort.
“You might have babies, toddlers, children, adults, aunts, uncles, or grandparents that are older, and within each of those age groups, we know that there’s a difference in risk factors of what we understand about the science of the disease for becoming infected, spreading the virus, and the more severe outcomes of hospitalization or death,” Carr told Global News.
Carr also says if you’re having a small gathering, it’s important to try to keep it outside or in a well-ventilated area, keep the number under 10, and try to avoid travelling to other communities. She also says it’s important to be mindful of any underlying medical conditions someone in your group may have.
“The virus is looking for every opportunity to spread,” she said.
Carr also acknowledged that between work, school, and other activities there could be numerous contacts of each bubble or cohort, but she also says keeping your main bubble small can go a long way in reducing the spread of the virus.
“Even thinking about keeping your cohort contained, you have to operate within real life. So yes, your child has a smaller cohort at school, but that doesn’t mean they don’t also interact with their brothers, sister, parents — who each have their own cohorts. And then many children, and even us adults, have other activities that keep us well in terms of exercise, social well-being,” Carr explained.
“So you can see how this small group of 10 can quickly become larger. But at least your doing some risk reduction, it’s not a group of 40, 50, or 60,” she added.
“Just by doing a little part in reducing that opportunity for exposure to each other is an element of harm reduction within real life.”
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