COVID-19 transmission risk is much lower outside - InfoNews

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COVID-19 transmission risk is much lower outside

A closed road into Knox Mountain Park in Kelowna is seen in this file photo.
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
April 29, 2020 - 4:16 PM

“Please, go outside,” B.C.'s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.

She does not want people to stay indoors and disengaged from world around them.

She does, however, want to make sure that everyone understands that social distancing measures are still required, even in the great outdoors.

Answering a question about the thought process that went into closing provincial parks, Dr. Henry said that it was not her decision. The province made the call in part because of the concerns around the potential for larger gatherings, and the cleanliness of public facilities. Also because of the province’s forest fire risk and the challenges that a dry April offer.

When it comes to outdoor transmission, however, Dr. Henry has been following stories around the globe to get greater insight into the risk and says she thinks it's very small.  

“What I have said many times, and what the data supports, is when we're in close contact with somebody ... we spread droplets and the droplets fall away relatively quickly within a short distance from us,” she said.

“It is more likely for us to transmit when we're having close contact over time with people in an enclosed environment, like having dinner or having meetings (or) living with somebody.”

One study, she said, looked at (318) different clusters and only one of those clusters was associated with people in close contact outdoors.

“The transmission risk is much less outside, as far as we can tell, as long as we keep our physical distances from people,” she said,

“As long as you're with your group, your home, your bubble, that is fine."

As long as people are maintaining their distance from others, the risk that somebody could be spreading this virus by coughing or sneezing while outside is very small.  

“So, please go outside. Go outside with your family,” she said.

“Keep your distance, smile, talk to your neighbour wave to them, you know, be supportive of each other, but do it in a way that maintains that distance right now, and make sure that you continue the important things that we know work to prevent this transmission of this disease.”

Keeping COVID-19 at bay is best done through properly cleaning hands regularly, covering your mouth when you cough and keeping that safe distance.

And if you’re sick, then you should stay home.

–This story was updated to reflect the actual number of cases in the cluster story

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