WINNIPEG -- As cases of COVID-19 have continued to climb throughout the province, the message from Manitoba's top doctor has been to limit contact outside your house.

That continues to be at the forefront of Dr. Brent Roussin's messaging as Manitoba gets ready to go into red or critical on Thursday.

However, Roussin clarifies that essential visits are still allowed during these strong restrictions.

"We talk about socializing. We only want to be socializing within our household. This doesn't apply to people who may have parents or friends who come for childcare or other supports," said Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer.

He noted the main goal of the restrictions is to stop non-essential socializing, and this wouldn't apply to families or parents who have shared custody.

Roussin was also asked about what this meant when it comes to seeing other family members, such as grandparents or adult children.

He once again said the visit would need to be for essential purposes only.

"Keep your contacts to your household members when all possible. So if it is an essential visit, you're caring for your parents or childcare arrangements, this would be essential. If it just to socialize, to visit, I would encourage doing so virtually."

He said this is going to be a relatively short period of time and people should find other ways to socialize that don't involve coming in contact with others.

Roussin also said it wouldn't be a good idea for Manitobans to merge households together and create a bubble between houses.

"I wouldn't suggest that right now," said Roussin, "Leave your house for essential purposes, otherwise find creative ways. It is social distancing, not social isolation, keep in contact with others. Make sure you are reaching out to family and friends, especially if they are feeling isolated. But we should try to keep our social interaction, in-person social interactions, to our household members for these upcoming weeks."