JACKSONVILLE, Fla — With the start of summer right around the corner and many neighborhood pools reopening, you may be wondering if the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread through pools, hot tubs, spas or water play areas.
The CDC says there is no evidence of that, but before you jump into a community pool Dr. David Caro, the Disaster Medical Officer for UF Health Jacksonville, says look to see if people are practicing social distancing in the water.
“If the pool is properly chlorinated or brominated then there should be no risk for COVID transmission from the pool itself,” Dr. Caro explained. “The danger really would be the social distancing and how close we're going to get to folks that aren't within our family and aren't within our own contacts. That's how things might get transmitted at a pool.”
That's why he says it's important to stay six feet apart, and he cautions not to use a cloth mask while swimming.
“It can get bogged down with water and could increase the risk of a drowning death,” he said.
As for when you’re lounging by the pool, Dr. Caro says if someone is sneezing or coughing those droplets can get on furniture so he suggests bringing your own disinfecting wipes.
“Cleaning those as you're sitting down and making sure that you're washing your hands very well and making sure that your family is doing the same things that you typically would do at any other public site would be a good idea,” Dr. Caro said.
The CDC recommends not sharing goggles, nose clips, and snorkels which can be hard to clean.
“The good news is we've seen our COVID numbers start to go down. We're expecting that for the time being the numbers are going to stay low, Dr. Caro said. "We do expect that there will be another COVID wave that comes in August/September is what the prediction levels look like and that's an expected thing because we're starting to open up and folks are going to be in more close contact for the next little bit of time. Just stay safe and use your common sense.”