Stick to your 'social bubble': Health Unit

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. (NIAID-RML via AP)

Public Health Officials in the Tri-County area are asking residents to stick to their so-called 'social bubble' to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

The social 'bubble' or 'circle' can include 10 people, according to health officials, which can be people you live with or who regularly come to your home. 

Rebecca Shams, Health Promoter with the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, said the circles are not to be confused with social gathering restrictions. 

"It's confusing because they both have ten people," she said. "The social circles are different rules, so if you're just doing a social gathering with people, you still need to stay physically distanced because those people may not be part of your social circle."

Shams said the social circles are important to reduce the ongoing "social isolation" everyone has faced since the beginning of the pandemic, while for those with children, it may be important to allow for more help with childcare, elder care or other needs. 

Shams said being true to your circle also allows for quick contact tracing for public health officials should someone become infected with the virus. 

Regardless of whether it's a social circle or social gathering, Shams said it's a good idea to frequently wash your hands, physically distance and wear a mask when distance is not possible.