Can Covid-19 spread through pool water?
During normal summer days, inviting friends and family over for a refreshing swim in your pool is one of the easiest joys. With the closure of public pools, water lovers are desperate for the aquatic relief that comes with spending safe and fun days at the pool. However, according to experts, you can share your private pool safely.
Infectious disease experts say that there is no evidence that coronavirus can be spread through the water in pools, spas, water play areas, or hot tubs, as long as surfaces and the water are cleaned regularly and well-maintained according to the CDC safety guidelines.
Proper maintenance and operation (including disinfection with bromine and chlorine) of your pool should inactivate the virus in the pool water.
The consensus among health experts, the CDC, and infectious disease experts is that it’s the people in and around your backyard pool who pose one of the biggest threats.
However, if the people sharing the pool are not congregating together for extended periods of time, it’s probably safe. However, adults should swim while distanced from each other to enhance safety.
How to Keep Your Kids Safe in Swimming Pools During Covid Times
For most pool owners, the joy is to share the pool with people who are seeking relief and freedom in the water, including immune-compromised friends and family. However, with kids it’s much trickier, depending on how much contact children have with one another and the nature of play.
People in this situation should adhere to risk mitigation measures and discuss ways to minimize exposure while at the pool. You don’t want your children playing with children from families who go out in public without masks while disregarding proposed precautions for Covid-19.
Remember, clear communication is key. If you share your backyard pool right, you can easily and conveniently lend some solace and joy to your immediate community after intense weeks, heat, and homeschooling.
In addition to water treatments like bromine and chlorine helping further inactivate the virus, the water allows for further dispersal of harmful droplets.
How can you control surface transmission around pools?
Surface transmission is particularly important with common-touch surfaces such as tables and chairs. To minimize exposure, common-touch surfaces should be cleaned off properly before your guests arrive and immediately after they leave. Moreover, it’s still important for everyone in and around the pool to maintain proper handwashing and physical distancing practices, especially in situations where masks can’t be worn.
Tips to best share your backyard pool
- Plan ahead before inviting people over
It is important for pool owners to think ahead before extending invitations, especially if they’ll be seeing immunocompromised or elderly people in the next 14 days. This will help you reduce your risk and protect them against the virus as much as possible.
In addition to scheduling regular pool maintenance (at least once per week), you should also test chlorine levels yourself and add chlorine as needed. Because of Covid-19, it’s recommended that pool owners increase the water sanitization level to about 2.0 parts per million.
During COVID – Ask your guests to bring their own food, drinking water, and towels
Having your guests bring their own food, drinking water and towels helps minimize contact as they don’t need to come into the house. Leaving a side gate open for your guests to reach your pool also minimizes the likelihood of them touching anything en route.
If it’s not possible for your guests to bring their own chairs, you should wipe down chairs and tables with EPA-approved disinfectants. Moreover, food should be served using individual plates and all guests should have designated chairs without switching.
During COVID – Children should be closely monitored
An adult should keep a close eye on kids especially if they are playing with friends to ensure the recommended physical distancing, mask usage, and handwashing guidelines are observed. Parents and caregivers can teach children the idea of physical distancing through “airplane arms”. Although that might be still a little too close because kids’ arms are not yet 3 feet long, it helps instill the idea of social distancing.
Generally, backyard pools are probably safer than all areas where it’s harder to control for density and exposure, such as public pools, beaches, or water parks. However, it’s essential to understand that there’s still a risk, largely depending on what individuals do especially outside their households.
To help mitigate the risk, pool owners can set up a schedule to avoid having more people than necessary in or around the pool at once.