Despite all that we're learning about the spread of the novel coronavirus, you may still be curious about the risks associated with your everyday errands.

We asked an expert the one question you're probably still wondering — can I get COVID-19 while shopping?

Dr. Stephen Barr, associate professor of microbiology & immunology at Western University, confirms that it is definitely possible.

However, the risk level varies depending on the environment and the precautions that you take.

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During times where community spread of the virus is high, [...] anything in the community could be contaminated.

Dr. Stephen Barr

"I am a researcher who studies the virus in my laboratory, so I know how easily the virus is transmitted," he continued.

"People have to remember that other people touch many items in the store, so if someone touches an item that is contaminated and then touches their face, for example, they could easily get infected," he says.

"Your risk of being infected increases when the store is crowded," says Barr, because there's less room for distancing and also increased touching of items.

"It all depends on how cautious an individual is at places like the grocery store and pharmacy," Barr says.

Most importantly, avoid touching your face after touching any products or surfaces until you've washed your hands.

Barr also recommends wiping down your groceries with a sanitizing wipe before they get the chance to enter your house.

With these precautions, combined with mask-wearing and social distancing, "the risk is extremely low," says Barr.

 
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