Social distancing and other ways to stay healthy

By: Natalie Leung

reduce your risk of getting sickAs the COVID-19 situation continues to rapidly evolve, we’ve all been hearing how “social distancing” can help “flatten the curve” and curb the spread of the disease. But what exactly does that mean? We asked our experts to share their tips on staying safe. Here’s what they said.

What is social distancing?

Social distancing is the practice of minimizing the risk of infectious disease transmission by reducing close physical interactions with people. When everyone takes part in social distancing, it can help slow the spread of illnesses.

What is and isn’t allowed in social distancing?

  • DO limit group events – Gathering in large groups will increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission. For example, if one person with COVID-19 attends a gathering of 100 people, 99 people would be considered exposed and require quarantine. If there had been 10 gatherings of 10 people, there would only be nine people exposed. If you have to meet in-person, try arranging to meet in a larger, less-busy room or the outdoors. During the meeting, try to maintain two metres’ distance between yourself and people around you and avoid close physical contact, like hand shaking and hugging.
  • DO stay home from work when you’re sick – If you are feeling unwell, stay home except to get medical care. During this time, self-monitor and if your symptoms worsen and you think you might have COVID-19, take a self-assessment to determine if you need to seek further care.
  • DON’T eliminate all interactions with friends and family – Instead of meeting in-person, consider touching base with loved ones through phone calls, text messages, social media or video calls.

How else can I keep myself healthy?

  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow – One person who coughs or sneezes can infect others within a two metre distance. Protect others around you by covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow. Alternatively, cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw out the tissue as soon as possible.
  • Wash your hands regularly – Keeping your hands clean is one of the most important things you can do to help protect yourself and others. Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

For more information and updates on COVID-19, visit our Coronavirus Information page for Patients and Families.