Kitchener-Waterloo

Why local health officials are no longer recommending social bubbles

The region’s top health official is telling people to burst their social bubbles and limit close contact only to those inside their household.

Region’s top health official says some didn’t understand the rules

People gather in a city park on a warm sunny day in Montreal, Monday, May 18, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

The region's top health official is telling people it's time to burst their social bubbles and limit close contact only to those inside their household.

In early June, the Ontario government gave people the green light to build bubbles of up to 10 people that could include family and friends. The idea was that they didn't have to strictly follow physical distancing rules within that circle.

"What we saw is people didn't really understand that and they went from one group of 10 people to another group of 10 people, to another group of 10 people, which ended up being, if you had a [positive] case, you had 60 contacts to follow up with and six different groups of 10 people," said Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang.

"That's why the messaging now is really, only have close, unprotected contact with your household members. If you're going to gather with anyone else outside of your household, make it really small and wear a mask," she added.

'We have stabilized'

Wang said the region's cases are steady because people are doing a good job at following public health guidelines.

"We've slowed the spread, which is great. We've stabilized in terms of our rates," she said, noting that numbers could quickly change.

Public health reported 19 new cases of COVID-19 in the Waterloo region as of Friday. It brings the total of active cases to 98. Wang said the region's four outbreaks are "well-controlled."

In the month of October, the seven-day rolling average number of new cases in Waterloo region ranged between 11 and 18. 

Colder temperatures mean more people spending time indoors, which Wang said "will increase the risks of COVID-19 spread.

She's reminding people to follow these public health precautions:

  • Limit close, unprotected contact to only immediate household members.
  • Practice physical distancing and wear a face covering with those outside the household.
  • Choose to gather virtually, but if you must gather in person, remember to do so at a distance and with face coverings.
  • If you must gather, do so outdoors or in well-ventilated indoor spaces
  • If you must gather, do so in smaller groups.

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