Written by Brick and Agent, and published on https://www.watersafetymagazine.com/.
Is it safe to go swimming in public pools during the COVID-19 outbreak? How about lakes, rivers, and oceans?
There are few better ways to stay in shape or beat the heat than swimming. But fears about COVID-19 have scared many people off because of the risk of exposure to the virus in the water plus fears of the inevitable crowds.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is it safe to go swimming?
Of course it is refreshing to go to the swimming pool, whether is just taking a dip, swim laps, recreation, or maybe even taking swimming lessons. But with this new Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic many are asking is it safe to go swimming? Questions have been flooding like can you still swim during the conronavirus?, is swimming in a public pool safe during covid?, is covid 19 a risk for public swimming pools?, or will swimming pools open during covid19? As you know, the now pandemic coronavirus COVID-19 has recently turned the world upside down. We are all trying to cope with the many limitations and/or restrictions now imposed within our daily lives and activities, in order to help prevent spread the virus, such as washing your hands, social distancing and more importantly staying home.
We should all be taking measures to reduce social interaction between people in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). By now, we are familiarized with the recommended safety guidelines and these measures should be implemented and followed as much as possible. For example:
- Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theaters, bars, clubs, shopping malls, etc.
- Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.
This also applies to public swimming pools and fitness gyms as well. Many countries are closing parks, recreational facilities, and swimming pools as well. Whether is to prevent big social gatherings and/or avoiding contact with others as much as possible, it is to keep you safe. But the question still remains is it still safe to have swimming as part of your training routine in light of the coronavirus pandemic? For those facilities that are still opened, visitors to swimming pools are still reminded to shower before using the pool, to shower on leaving the pool and to follow the necessary hygiene precautions when visiting public places to help reduce the risk of infection. But still, for most of us, regardless whether the pool is open or not steering clear of public swimming pools seems to be the best option for the time being.
The World Health Organisation has recommended chlorination level of 15mg.min/litre is sufficient to kill non-enveloped viruses such as poliovirus, rotavirus and coxsackievirus, and an enveloped virus such as Covid-19 would be inactivated at even lower levels, the document says. Of course, it goes without saying that swimmers should follow the recommended health guidelines and avoid the swimming pool completely if they are feeling unwell, have a high temperature or have a new continuous cough. The Water Safety Magazine agrees that people need to take responsibility in this regard and stay away to avoid potentially infecting others. Some may not agree with that notion but best option whether you are sick or not, it is to stay home and not go to a public swimming pool for now.
The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued clarification and guidance on COVID-19 and treated recreational water venues. You can check the latest on that here in our CDC Coronavirus section. The CDC has stated there is no evidence the virus can survive in a properly chlorinated and filtered pool. The advice and answers provided are useful to swimmers, swim programs and swimming venues.
The guidance in full:
Water Transmission and COVID-19
Drinking Water, Recreational Water and Wastewater: What You Need to Know
- The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water. Conventional water treatment methods that use filtration and disinfection, such as those in most municipal drinking water systems, should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.
- The virus that causes COVID-19 has been detected in the feces of some patients diagnosed with COVID-19. The amount of virus released from the body (shed) in stool, how long the virus is shed, and whether the virus in stool is infectious are not known.
- The risk of transmission of COVID-19 from the feces of an infected person is also unknown. However, the risk is expected to be low based on data from previous outbreaks of related coronaviruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). There have been no reports of fecal-oral transmission of COVID-19 to date.
- There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools and hot tubs. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (e.g., with chlorine and bromine) of pools and hot tubs should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.
- CDC is reviewing all data on COVID-19 transmission as information becomes available. At this time, the risk of transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 through sewerage systems is thought to be low. Although transmission of COVID-19 through sewage may be possible, there is no evidence to date that this has occurred. This guidance will be updated as necessary as new evidence is assessed.
- SARS, a similar coronavirus, has been detected in untreated sewage for up to 2 to 14 days. In the 2003 SARS outbreak, there was documented transmission associated with sewage aerosols. Data suggest that standard municipal wastewater system chlorination practices may be sufficient to inactivate coronaviruses, as long as utilities monitor free available chlorine during treatment to ensure it has not been depleted.
- Wastewater and sewage workers should use standard practices, practice basic hygiene precautions, and wear personal protective equipment (PPE) as prescribed for current work tasks.
- Wastewater treatment plant operations should ensure workers follow routine practices to prevent exposure to wastewater. These include using engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices, and PPE normally required for work tasks when handling untreated wastewater. No additional COVID-19–specific protections are recommended for employees involved in wastewater management operations, including those at wastewater treatment facilities.
The Association of Aquatic Professionals has been monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and how that is impacting its global membership. They recently issued the abide guidance to members and noted: “We’ve heard from many of you with questions about how this virus might affect your own operations, especially in relation to treated pool water. Today, we have received clarification on this question from our partners with the CDC’s Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch.
People will continue to ask if Coronavirus (COVID-19) is it safe to go swimming? Tell us what other measures are you taking or your city is making to help ensure your safety in public recreational activities.
Original post here https://www.watersafetymagazine.com/coronavirus-covid-19-is-it-safe-to-go-swimming/.