Coronavirus: Manitoba not allowing ‘family bubbles’, not an easy decision: epidemiologist

As Manitobans adjust to loosened rules through the COVID-19 pandemic, the province has yet to include “family bubbles” in the reopening plans, despite other provinces allowing the practice.

The strategy — going ahead in both New Brunswick and British Columbia — allows an isolated household, which includes single people who live alone, to link up with another isolated household.

But there’s a lot for public health officials to consider before allowing people to expand their bubbles, says Kiffer Card, a behavioural epidemiologist from the University of Victoria.

“The biggest concern would be that they implement this too early,” Kiffer told Global News Morning Winnipeg. “It’s not yet clear what the kind of optimal implementation criteria would be.

“We know, for instance, that a low incidence rate — meaning fewer new infections per day — is important, but we don’t know how low is low enough.”

New Brunswick became the first province to allow the expansion of social isolation bubbles late last month, B.C. has implemented a similar policy and other provinces are considering it.

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But the practice comes with rules.

In New Brunswick, for example, the choice has to be mutual and you’re unable to change your mind on who you choose to include in your bubble. The idea behind the approach is to provide people with social interaction they crave while limiting the amount of co-mingling.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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