Can COVID-19 spread through water in lakes or pools?

Coronavirus
Swimming Pool_129955

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As summer-like temperatures start to pop up with more regularity, more Central Texans are itching to get out on the water. But how safe is that during the coronavirus pandemic?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says “there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas.”

State and local leader recommend you stay at home and practice social distancing. Austin Mayor Steve Adler even told KXAN he plans to extend the city’s stay-at-home order.

But it’s clear that not all Austinites are staying at home. On Saturday, meteorologist Kristen Currie took a picture of Lady Bird Lake that showed a crowd of people out on the lake. There were similar scenes out at places like Commons Ford Ranch Metro Park.

From the CDC’s guidance, it appears that swimming pools are safer than lakes and rivers due to the presence of chlorine. The CDC added, “proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water.”

The CDC gives very specific guidance to businesses and employers for cleaning and disinfecting their community facilities. This will likely come in to play moving forward as places like apartments, gyms, and country clubs reopen swimming pools.

Mayor Adler said the City of Austin’s municipal pools will remain closed.

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