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Alberta's top doctor urges no more than three cohorts--what does that mean?

Last Updated Oct 27, 2020 at 2:22 pm MST

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the COVID-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Do you know how many cohorts you are a part of?

During Monday’s COVID-19 update, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw urged people to limit their cohorts to three in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus.

But, according to infectious disease expert Dr. Craig Jenne, most Albertans have a lot more than that.

“If you’re a family like ours with children in two different schools, a primary and a junior high, that’s now two cohorts for our family already. I think people underestimate how many cohorts they’re a part of.”

Aside from schools, Jenne said your workplace is also considered a cohort.

“It’s not just who is in your office, it’s who your coworkers spend time with are also, in theory, now in your office. This is why we do have to limit our cohorts.”

Hinshaw also recommended everyone wear a mask if they are working outside the home.

Jenne anticipates these measures will hopefully be temporary to help get the case numbers down.

He added this is important to remember for contact tracing, saying it’s an area we have lost focus on.

Jenne said that early in the pandemic when people restricted activities to essential, remembering your contacts and tracing them was easier.

Now that more businesses and activities are open, it’s becoming more difficult.

“If you take the CTrain to work, how many people did you contact for 15 or 20 minutes on public transit? In theory, if you test positive, all of those people should be notified. There are significant problems with contact tracing when we go about our normal, daily activities in a non-restrictive fashion in the community.”