Sask.'s chief medical health officer says limit your COVID-19 bubble to large family or 2 to 3 friends

·3 min read

Saskatchewan announced new COVID-19 cases and new restrictions Friday, while doctors expressed their disappointment.

At a news conference Friday, Sask. chief medical officer Dr. Saqib Shahab spoke about how people should adjust their COVID-19 bubble during the next few weeks.

He said it's not practical to ask people to stay at home all the time, as people have to work, go to school or leave for other reasons. Instead, he offered several points to follow:

Limit your bubble to either your large family or 2 to 3 friends

Shahab said it's not practical for people living alone to not see anyone for a few weeks. He recommended having a small bubble of friends.

"Socialise in your bubble of two to three consistent friends and just keep it to that," Shahab said.

Shahab said large families should not socialize in-person with anyone outside their family.

"We all have to look at our own circumstances, make adjustments," he said.

Attend events virtually

Shahab said now is the time to be attending things virtually, similar to what people did in March.

"[Current] cases are the result of activities that happened 10 days ago," Shahab said on Friday. "So all the measures we take today will reflect in the case numbers we will have next week and the week after that."

Limit your sport activities

Shahab recommended parents, children and adults who participate in sports look at ways to reduce their chances of coming into contact with COVID-19.

"Can you slow things down?" Shahab said. "If you're playing three sports, you should probably play one."

The province is seeing transmission via sports, he said. The risk of transmission is low, and it's a great way to stay active and socialize, but people socializing at sports events are transmitting the virus, he said.

"If you're waiting for your turn to play, do you keep that distance? You keep your mask on as you play … You can wear a mask and it looks odd, but you can safely wear a mask," he said.

"We need to think very conscious about how can we participate as safely as possible."

Keep few contacts

Shahab said there have been pressures on contract tracers lately. He said it can be tough for nurses to follow all the contacts somepeople have.

"On average, we have five to eight contacts per person, but some of us have dozens of contacts," he said. "We all need to look at what are we doing on a day-by-day basis. What's essential, what's discretionary that we can slow down?"

Shahab recommended people go back to one person doing all the grocery shopping, and that person masking up and keeping their distance.

Shahab also recommended having a list of contacts ready in case someone tests positive.

"I make my list every Saturday," Shahab said. "I also realize if it's getting higher than what I should trim."

Young adults should follow guidelines to protect vulnerable people

Shahab said the bulk of cases are in young adults who typically have mild symptoms.

"There are instances where, you know, many bars and restaurants, people sit at the table, but then you're not supposed to mingle, but people are mingling and that's where transmission is happening," Shahab said.

However, those young adults then spread the virus to older people who have underlying risk factors. That then translates to hospitalizations and deaths.

Shahab said people are being asked to once again review the guidelines and make sure they follow them and stay home where possible. Reducing peoples' bubbles can help take pressure off the healthcare system, contact tracers and more. Shahab said this happens by aligning all the above.

"It's a balance," he said. "It's not just one thing."