Pool safety in the age of the coronavirus pandemic

Pool safety in the age of the coronavirus pandemic

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Summer is officially here and pools are beginning to reopen, including here in Wilmington.

But now that we’re living during a global pandemic, pool days will look a little different.

“There is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread to people through the water used in pools, hot tubs, or water playgrounds,” the CDC said on its website. “Proper operation and disinfection of pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds should kill the virus that causes COVID-19. Limit close contact with people outside your home in public spaces, both in and out of the water.”

WECT spoke with a medical expert on the risks going to a swimming pool, whether it’s private, public, or a community pool. Jason Honaker, a certified physician assistant at Novant Health Oceanside Family Medicine in Bolivia says the risks are bigger when outside of the water.

“It’s very unlikely the coronavirus can be transmitted through water,” said Honaker.

Robert Strange Pool in Wilmington reopened for the season Monday. But you can’t just show up; you’re asked to make a reservation the day of.

“The reservations allows us to follow the CDC and health dept guidelines to make sure we’re staying in capacity at all times,” said Cierra Stone, the Assistant Aquatics Coordinator YMCA of Southeastern North Carolina.

The reservation is for one hour. Your temperature will be taken before going to your designated seating area of the pool.

“Once you come in, you’ll see that there are color coordinated areas around the benches and around the pool so you’ll know that that is your section and your designated sitting area and swimming area for your time slot,” said Stone.

Honaker says it’s important to not let the precautions to prevent the spread of the virus fall by the wayside.

“When you’re outside the water and around the pool, the guidelines are still to have a mask on and still maintain proper social distancing. You should wash your hands before you go into the pool area,” said Honaker.

Public pools in Wilmington are operated by the YMCA. There are plans to reopen the other public pools in the coming weeks. For more information COVID protocols for Wilmington city pools, click here.

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