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Allegheny County’s Top Health Official Says Quarantine Pods ‘A Great Approach’

Kailey Love
90.5 WESA
People relax at Point State Park, April 13, 2018.

Some individuals are forming so-called “pods" with small groups of friends or family as a way to expand social interaction while limiting exposure to the coronavirus. 

People within the same pod don't physically distance from each other, even if they live in separate residences. But pod members will still physically distance from those outside the group.

“I think it’s a great approach,” said Dr. Debra Bogen, head of the Allegheny County Health Department. “People are really sick of being in their house. And they’re really sick of seeing just [the] people who live in their households. And this allows sort of very gradual expansion of people’s physical [interactions] and socialization.”

Bogen, who made her comments during the county's weekly press conference, said as a precaution that it may be necessary for people to quarantine for a period before establishing a pod. 

A recent paper from sociologists at the University of Oxford offers some advice on the creation of pods or micro-communities. This includes picking pod members who live near you and are close in age. Also, form a pod with people who are part of the same social network, such as friends from work or family members.

Sarah Boden covers health and science for 90.5 WESA. Before coming to Pittsburgh in November 2017, she was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio. As a contributor to the NPR-Kaiser Health News Member Station Reporting Project on Health Care in the States, Sarah's print and audio reporting frequently appears on NPR and KFF Health News.