Celebrate Memorial Day at the Swimming Pool or Beach with Social Distancing 

Days are getting warmer with Memorial Day just next week, and the first day of Summer only a month away.

As some states loosen stay-at-home orders, people who have been cooped up for the past two months in quarantine are looking to get out and celebrate the arrival of Summer – maybe at the beach or at a local pool with friends.

As states reopening, and parks and beaches welcome people back, it doesn’t mean we’re in the clear and social distancing is history.

Texas for example was one of the first states to reopen, but also recorded 1,801 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday.

More than 180 people may have been exposed to the virus by a single person during a religious service last week in California, which has also loosened quarantine restrictions. 

If people are itching to get to the beach or the pool there are a few things that should be understand about the virus and natural waterways, as well as swimming pools. 

First and foremost, social distancing is still critical for your health and the health of others. Plenty of states have lessened calls for quarantining at home, but health and government officials still recommend keeping at least six feet apart when possible – even at beaches and pools.

For anyone concerned about the health risks regarding swimming, the good news is that there is no research to show that COVID-19 is transmissible through water – freshwater, saltwater or chlorinated water. There is some research that shows the virus can survive in water temporarily, but not to the level at which a person can contract the virus.

In addition, water that has been treated and filtered in at a water treatment plant, for example, would have the COVID-19 virus removed, making the water safe for drinking, bathing, hand washing, and of course, swimming.

Based on what we know about the virus right now it is safe for people to go swimming. This is especially true for people swimming in pools since the chlorine or bromine in pools will make thecoronavirus inactive.

For people with swimming pools, it is recommended that the pools be cleaned and maintained regularly to ensure that COVID-19 is removed from any surface.

As for swimming in lakes or rivers, recent research has shown that the virus can survive temporarily in fresh bodies of water.

Not to be concerned though. There is no evidence showing that COVID can be transmitted via rivers or lakes due dilution of the virus. So overall, the risk of contracting the virus through swimming in a lake or river is extremely low. 

The ocean is also considered safe for swimming, since the virus, much like in chlorine, can’t survive in saltwater. 

If there are to be any red flags raised about water and the coronavirus, it’s regarding untreated water, such as raw sewage.

People may not realize that COVID-19 can be carried through human feces, which would contaminate sewage water and areas that it may runoff to (often other bodies of water). 

Hopefully however, people are avoiding any contact with wastewater; especially if it runs into another body of water, such as a lakeriver or ocean.  

In summary, it is safe for people to swim in virtually any body of water – lakes, rivers, oceans and pools – during and after quarantine. The important thing to remember is to continue practicing social distancing and avoiding person-to-person contact. Data has shown that the virus can spread between people in close quarters or in contact with one another.

So, this Memorial Day it is best to maintain healthy practices as you celebrate by the water.  

 

For additional health information and practices to following during the coronavirus pandemic, please visit Xenophon’s COVID-19 Crisis Response Team webpage at: https://xenophonstrategies.com/covid-19-response

Getting Back to Work is an ongoing series on health and safety regarding COVID-19 from Xenophon Strategies, in partnership with Dr. David Hamer, a professor at the Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine with more than 30 years of experience in epidemiological diseases. Through the partnership Xenophon is working with Dr. Hamer to provide science-based recommendations and guidance on how employers, employees, and families should best respond to and combat the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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