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Summer, pools, and public waters amid coronavirus pandemic | Here's what you need to know

With the temperature rising and summer nearing many have questions as the novel coronavirus continues to spread. You asked, we answered.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. —

The ABC10 community all over Northern California to the Central Valley have asked more than 8,000 questions about coronavirus and how it is impacting our everyday lives.

We're working to bring you facts, not fear, during this time. 

Amid the warm weather, people are looking to cool off. The saying "dip your toes into the water" takes on a whole new meaning during the coronavirus pandemic.

We spoke with Dr. Dean Blumberg, a UC Davis Infectious Disease professor, to address some of the most common questions ABC10 viewers have asked concerning the coronavirus pandemic:

Q: Does sunlight kill COVID-19? 

No matter how sunny it is outside, you can still catch COVID-19. 

“I think there’s been a common misconception that somehow sunlight makes everything safe,” says Dr. Dean Blumberg, a UC Davis Infectious Disease Expert. “Sunlight does not kill the virus, time kills the virus even without the sun being present.”

Q: Can the novel coronavirus live in water, such as, the ocean, lake or river? Is it safe to swim?

“There is no known risk,” said Dr. Dean Blumberg. “If you are in a large body of water like the river or the ocean, the virus [will] be diluted.”

Well the water might be safe to swim in, that does not mean you should flock to your local water hub anytime soon. 

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“The conditions last week, the images we saw on a few of our beaches were disturbing. I was very candid about that,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said this week.

Due to the overcrowding of beaches recently, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that California will shut down state and local beaches in Orange County starting Friday. 

If you do go swimming in the open waters, Dr. Blumberg emphasized how important it is to maintain social distancing at all times. 

Although there is “no known risk from transmission in the water itself,” he adds, the main way to spread the COVID-19 infection is by close contact from person-to-person so make sure to provide space between you and anyone who does not live in your household. 

Q: Can coronavirus spread in a swimming pool? 

No, the novel coronavirus will not spread in a swimming pool, nor hot tubs or water play areas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A swimming pool may be a small body of water, but “as long as it’s maintained appropriately with chlorine, then that will kill the virus,” Dr. Dean Blumberg said. He added that it is “certainly safe” to use public pools as long as they are properly disinfected and individuals are doing their part to stay six feet away from each other.

Currently many public pools are not open, however, it’s never too early to start thinking about what the new normal means for your recreational activities. Ensure your safety by asking your designated pool operator what “proper operation and maintenance” is in effect to clean and disinfect community facilities like pools.

Q: How can I save my summer during the coronavirus pandemic?

The great news is the outdoors is in some ways safer than being indoors, according to Dr. Blumberg. 

“When you are indoors, you are confined to a smaller space, smaller air volume and when you’re outdoors, the virus is greatly diluted by the volume of air outdoors”, he added. “As long as you maintain social distancing in public spaces, visiting the outdoors is a healthy option.”

RELATED: Governor Newsom orders closure to beaches in Orange County | Update

Just make sure that when you head outside you bring hand sanitizer, in case you touch public spaces. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom is also encouraging people to “enjoy activities outdoors” as long as people do not gather outside in large groups. On Thursday, the state’s “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response” website released a list of outdoor recreational activities people can enjoy:

  • Athletics
  • Badminton (singles)
  • Throwing a baseball/softball
  • BMX biking
  • Canoeing (singles)
  • Crabbing
  • Cycling
  • Exploring Rock Pools
  • Gardening (not in groups)
  • Golf (singles, walking – no cart)
  • Hiking (trails/ paths allowing distancing)
  • Horse Riding (singles)
  • Jogging and running
  • Kite Boarding and Kitesurfing
  • Meditation
  • Outdoor Photography
  • Picnics (with your stay-home household members only)
  • Quad Biking
  • Rock Climbing
  • Roller Skating and Roller Blading
  • Rowing (singles)
  • Scootering (not in groups)
  • Skateboarding (not in groups)
  • Soft Martial Arts – Tai Chi, Chi Kung (not in groups)
  • Table Tennis (singles)
  • Play catch with a mini football, frisbee or frisbee golf (not in groups)
  • Trail Running
  • Trampolining
  • Tree Climbing
  • Volleyball (singles)
  • Walk the dog
  • Wash the car
  • Watch the sunrise or sunset
  • Yoga

If you have a question about the novel coronavirus, you can text us at 916-321-3310. 

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