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British Columbians told to reconsider their bubbles as fall approaches and cases rise

FILE - Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver. (iStock Photo)

As the number of COVID-19 cases soars in B.C., Dr. Bonnie Henry is urging you to reconsider who is in your bubble

With fall approaching, people heading back to work, school, we need to be vigilant in trying to slow the spread of COVID

Henry says people need to think about how their interactions, where they go can impact those around them

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – British Columbians are being reminded to keep their bubbles small as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to surge in the province.

While we aren’t in what she considers a second wave, yet, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is reminding us to keep our bubbles small if we want to re-flatten the curve in coming weeks.

How we maintain our social circles going into the fall will determine if that remains true.

“So, if it’s just one and one that I have contact with, my chances of coming into contact with [COVID-19] are just one. But if I have two friends, my chances then go up logarithmically — there may be six people that I have potential contacts with,” Henry said on Monday. “These are the things that we need to think about again, now.”

With September upon us, parents are now preparing their kids for the return to school. Many others are getting back into the groove of work, with some having returned to the office after being at home for several months.

As we increase our social interactions, Henry said it’s time to consider cutting out others.

“We may need to stop other things that we would want to do, like after school activities or going out and playing on a sports team on the weekend,” she said. “Those are all personal sacrifices that we are going to have to make individually this coming fall.”

Large gatherings

With 1,100 active cases in the province, of which 294 were recorded over the weekend, Henry is urging British Columbians to pull back to keep those at risk safe, saying people should be thinking of those around them, not just themselves.

She said private gatherings, including funerals and parties, continue to be a driving source of the coronavirus’ spread.

“How we have contact in the community is really important. We know that we need to go to work, we know that we need to go to school, so when we have to balance those things, it depends on our own family, our own risk,” Henry explained.

“We had a relative period of quiet during the summer, but we found that when we had people getting together in environments where we’re close, face to face, talking, laughing, celebrating, that those were environments where this virus passed quickly.”

Talking about the cap of 50 people the province has designated as the maximum allowable number of people at a single gathering, Henry noted that figure doesn’t apply to all circumstances.

“That may be way too many if you are in a small house or if you are in an apartment,” she explained. “I need people now to start thinking again about, ‘How do I keep myself, my family, my close contacts safe?’ And that means pulling back. Knowing that we can’t have those large groups.”

Smaller spaces, fewer faces

Depending on the space, Henry said there may be times when two people may be too many.

Pointing to recent changes restricting the number of people who can stay at a short-term rental or rent boats at once, Henry asked people to follow those directives for a little more “clear guidance.”

“So, look to that,” she said. “We are looking at restaurants and bars of tables of six, and we’ve asked people to respect that, because that is a number that is manageable, it has space between people, it protects the staff who are working there, as well as the people who are coming in.”

While there’s no magic number of safe contacts, Henry said that number could — and in some cases should — be smaller if you have people in your circles who are more vulnerable.

-With files from Marcella Bernardo