Queensland Health advise public aquatic centres are ‘safe for swimming’
Following advice from the Federal Government that public swimming pools are not required to close due to the Coronavirus crisis, Queensland Health has issued advice facilities are safe for swimming.
Despite the closure earlier this week of the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre along with council facilities in Geelong, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, Queensland Health advised yesterday that “it is generally safe to go swimming at this time (as) the chlorine within public swimming pools will help to kill the virus.”
The information adds “of concern, though, is the interaction that pool users have with each other outside the swimming activity.”
In a message on Swimming Pool Management During the Coronavirus Incident, Queensland Health advises of the following:
COVID-19 will be killed at the levels of chlorine recommended for use in public swimming pools in Queensland.
For everyone’s safety, Queensland Health is urging the managers of public swimming pools to ensure:
• Frequent, regular, testing of the pool water for pH and disinfectant levels.
• That pH and disinfectant levels should comply with Queensland Health guidance in the new Water Quality Guidelines for Public Aquatic Facilities (2019).
• Monthly bacteriological tests (NOT virus testing) of pool water should be carried out by a laboratory approved for the testing by the National Association of Testing Authorities.
• The pool manager must ensure that all objects and surfaces in the pool environment that are touched by the public are cleaned and disinfected frequently by pool staff. This includes public areas, changing rooms, toilets and kiosks. There is no hard and fast rule about frequency of cleaning. Factors that should be considered to inform frequency of cleaning could include: number of patrons at any one time, age of patrons (children, people with some disabilities and the infirmed may be more likely to touch more surfaces when using the facilities), types of activities undertaken at the facility, observed activities of patrons etc
• The pool manager must also ensure that there is a constant supply of soap and hand sanitiser available in changing rooms and toilets and at point of entry.
• Promote regular handwashing by staff and patrons – QH website contains some hand washing resources that can be printed out at www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/find-the-facts/resources
• There must be no gatherings of more than 500 persons at an outdoor facility, and fewer than 100 people at internal facilities. Social distancing of 1.5 metres between people is being encouraged.
Queensland Health add “it is more important than ever that all bathers who are unwell should be discouraged from using the pool. Pool managers should follow the guidance in Chapter 8 Healthy Swimming in the Queensland Health Water Quality Guidelines for Public Aquatic Facilities (2019).
“Users of swimming pools should be reminded to not visit an aquatic facility if they are unwell for any reason and should be excluded from entry if they are visibly unwell upon arrival at a facility. Additionally, swimmers should also be reminded that if they have had diarrhoea they should not be using a swimming pool for 14 days after symptoms have ended.
Key messages for users of aquatic facilities should include:
• Shower at home using soap before using the aquatic facility
• Minimise of time spent at the aquatic facility
• Actively practice social distancing when at the aquatic facility that is at least 1.5 metre between people
• Bath at home after swimming rather than using change rooms for showering
For updates on the coronavirus situation in Queensland, including advice about reducing the spread of the infection, pool managers are advised to check the Queensland Health coronavirus website www.health.qld.gov.au/clinical-practice/guidelines-procedures/diseases-infection/diseases/coronavirus
19th March 2020 - Australasian Leisure Management and the Coronavirus crisis
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18th March 2020 - Fitness Australia’s Barrie Elvish says ‘gyms do not need to close’
18th March 2020 - City of Newcastle brings forward end-of-season swimming pool closures
18th March 2020 - City of Greater Geelong closes facilities in Coronavirus response
8th March 2020 - Aquatic facilities react to Coronavirus fears
31st January 2020 - Gas bill shock triggers revolution in energy-efficient aquatic centre design
5th December 2017 - ALFAQ calls for greater investment in Queensland’s public pools
24th August 2017 - Queensland aquatic facility achievement recognised at ALFAQ awards
1st September 2016 - Dan Kwaczynski takes on ALFA Queensland Presidency
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