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The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued clarification and guidance on COVID-19 and treated recreational water venues. The advice and answers provided are useful to swimmers, swim programs and swimming venues.
Can the COVID-19 virus spread through pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds?
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.
While there is ongoing community spread of the virus, it is important for individuals, as well as operators of public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds (for example, at hotels or apartment complexes or owned by communities) to take steps
to ensure health and safety:
- Everyone should follow state, local, territorial, or tribal guidance that might determine when and how public pools, hot tubs, or water playgrounds may operate and might include CDC considerations.
- In addition to ensuring water quality and safety, operators of public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds should follow guidance on cleaning and disinfecting community facilities.
Can the COVID-19 virus spread through drinking water?
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.
Can the COVID-19 virus spread through sewerage systems?
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 coronavirus, 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.
For further information on water transmission and COVID-19, please visit the CDC website.
John Caballero, CIC, CRM is a Client Advisor and Partner at Gulfshore Insurance who specializes in managing risk for community associations. Comments and questions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
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