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Social distancing urged during COVID-19 outbreak

Posted on March 24, 2020 by Sunny South News

By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the province is asking people to start social distancing.

This does not mean that you have to cut off contact with absolutely everyone and everything outside of your home, but rather stick to what is essential.

“It’s not stopping everything that you’re doing or stopping all your public interactions,” said Lizette Elumir, medical officer of health for AHS south zone.

“What it is is limiting it to what we talked about is essential. So we’re asking people to avoid big events — which most of them have been cancelled anyway — so big events where there’s contact with lots of people, or you are in a crowded area where there’s a lot of people you could have contact with. So to limit nonessential travel, but we don’t ask you to stop doing things like go to work, because some people have to go to work, or going to get groceries, because people have to do that. We’re just asking people to limit what they do to what is essential to daily living.”

Social distancing taking steps to limit the amount of people you come into close contact with. While a trip to the grocery store tends to involve limited close contact with other people, attending a large gathering in which you are in close contact with a lot of other people for longer periods of time is discouraged.

Social distancing also involves “standing back” from people, when doing activities such as talking to one another.

According to AHS, COVID-19 is believed to be spread by someone coughing, sneezing or by having

direct contact with someone who is sick with COVID-19 or with surfaces an infected person has recently touched.

Ultimately, the goal of social distancing is to reduce the risk of contracting or passing on COVID-19.

“What we’re trying to do now is limit the spread of COVID-19,” said Elumir. “When we limit the amount of contact we have among people, then that limits the spread.

“Your risks are less when you put these things in place, and for you to spread it and get it as well, it goes both ways.”

A lot of people live in multi-person households, but that doesn’t mean everyone needs to be quarantined in a separate part of the house. If someone has COVID-19, is showing symptoms, is believed to have come in close contact with someone with COVID-19 or otherwise sick, that person should stay away from other people in the house, but otherwise you should carry on like normal.

“If (you) are sick, definitely stay away from other family members, stay in your own room, don’t share towels and things like that, try to eat on your own, stay away from them, wash your hands, things like that. But if everyone in your household is well, there isn’t anything that you need to do,” said Elumir. “If you’re sick, you obviously don’t want to be spreading it and you need to stay away from your household members, as much as feasible, that’s the best you can do. But if everybody is well, there really is no restrictions you need to do amongst each other because that would be difficult, it’ll be difficult to do because you all live together.”

Elumir also recommends that they should all try to stay as healthy as possible by doing things such as eating well, drinking enough water and getting enough sleep. Everyone, regardless of their health status, also should take care to properly wash their hands.

“Within the home, if everybody is healthy than everybody is healthy, continue your activities. If you are doing a lot of interactions with other people and you start having symptoms, than obviously you have to take precautions in your home to protect your family.”

For more information on COVID-19, visit https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-foralbertans.aspx.

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