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It’s safe to exercise outside during COVID-19

B.C.'s provincial health officer has said the likelihood of catching COVID-19 when outdoors is "infinitesimally small"

It’s very unlikely that you’ll catch COVID-19 from someone passing by you outside, according to B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. The CBC reported that, in a daily briefing on Wednesday, Dr. Henry said it’s safe to go outside as long as people don’t get too close to one another. Continue to take necessary precautions and to practise social distancing, of course, but don’t stress about the possibility of catching COVID-19 from passersby.

Never say never

“We always say ‘never say never’ in medicine,” Dr. Henry said, “but the risk would be infinitesimally small if somebody walks by you, runs by you — even if they are within six feet.” Still, this doesn’t mean you should ignore social distancing rules and run up right behind someone on the sidewalk or go for a workout with a friend. The risk is small, but there’s still a risk, so follow the rules, but don’t worry if you happen to get a little closer to someone on the street than you planned.

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Dr. Henry added that if you feel sick, you should stay home. Even though the odds of you transmitting the infection to someone else outside are low, you don’t want to put anyone else at risk. Stay home, rest up and head back outside once you’ve recovered.

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“Right now we, need to be very cautious,” she said.

The great outdoors

It’s important to get outside for fresh air, a change of scenery and exercise. You can go stir crazy pretty quickly when you’re stuck inside for too long, so give yourself a break and get outside every now and then. Even if you have a treadmill at home, it might be good to get out of the house for a couple of runs a week.

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“Please, go outside,” Dr. Henry said. “Go outside with your family, but stay away, keep your distance. Smile, talk to your neighbour, wave to them, be supportive of each other, but do it in a way that maintains that distance.”