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Concrete measures for the reopening of public swimming pools

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The Haut Conseil de la santé issued an opinion indicating non-pharmaceutical measures to be deployed and applied in swimming pool water and wetlands during the deconfinement phase aimed at taking into account the risk of a second epidemic wave. 

In line with the seizure by the General Directorate of Health of the French Hospital Hygiene Society (SF2H), the High Council for Public Health was questioned on the adaptation of barrier and social distancing measures (outside the health and medico-social field) when coming out of confinement. 

In a report published on April 26, he details the barrier gestures, physical distancing, hygiene measures and individual and collective organizations to be respected. It thus issues public health measures or non-pharmaceutical measures (NPM) aimed at " reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the community, protect vulnerable people, allow hospital treatment of the most severe cases and prevent the saturation of hospitals ". The HCSP specifies that these guidelines will be updated " as new relevant information becomes available or depending on the epidemiological situation ». 

In chapter 15 of its opinion, the HCSP details for specific public buildings, such as public swimming pools, during a possible reopening, the following measures (Editor's note: the measures are indicated here as published by the HCSP, without addition or modification, in accordance with its request):

  • « Perform the appropriate operations maintenance and purging of the cold water network in order to evacuate the volume which has stagnated in the interior pipes during the duration of the closure. 
  • Implement the measures provided for in the decree of 1er February 2010 relating to Legionella monitoring in installations for the production, storage and distribution of domestic hot water, when an ERP has closed its doors for several weeks. »
Read also:  Concrete measures for individual and group sports activities

« Persistence of viruses in swimming pool water and wetlands 

  • No studies on the survival of SARS-CoV-2 in swimming pool water are currently available. Swimming pool water does not seem to be a good place for the survival and development of viruses. Viruses that have an envelope - influenza viruses or viruses of the coronavirus family - are too fragile and survive too short a long time in the outside environment to be transmitted in swimming pools. 
  • Viruses cannot replicate outside their host's tissues and cannot multiply in the environment. Therefore, the presence of viruses in a swimming pool is the result of direct contamination by bathers, who may shed viruses through unintentional fecal discharge or through the release of bodily fluids, such as saliva, mucus or skin. vomiting. »

« Maintenance and control of virus proliferation in swimming pools 

  • Strict standards are imposed to treat swimming pool water in such a way as to inactivate microorganisms, including viruses. L'water in public swimming pools must be filtered, disinfected and disinfectant, and meet the physical, chemical and microbiological standards of the Public Health Code. These treatments must be able to'eliminate microorganisms without irritating the skin, eyes and mucous membranes. Chlorine, used in gaseous form in public swimming pools, is the most widely used product because it combines efficiency and ease of use.'use and safety. 
  • These disinfection measures must be accompanied by strict hygiene and behavioral rules for bathers and a limitation of the reception capacity of establishments. » 

« Swimming pool capacity 

This is the maximum number of people (bathers and non-bathers) that can be simultaneously in the establishment. 

  • By law, for indoor swimming pools, this capacity cannot exceed 1 bather per square meter (m2) of water. However, it seems safer to count 2 swimmers for 3m2, or even 1 for 2 m2
  • By law, for outdoor swimming pools, this capacity cannot exceed 3 bathers for 2 m2 of water. »
Read also:  Concrete measures for the reopening of ERP and companies

« HCSP Recommendations 

  • Ensure compliance with the Public Health Code intended to control microbiological hazards in public swimming pools treated with a suitable disinfectant. 
  • Enforce, during this initial period of deconfinement, a minimum physical distance and the behavioral rules of bathers (caps, showers, footbaths, absence of digestive disorders) in the basins and spaces of a collective swimming pool. 
  • Forbid access to the swimming pools to people with respiratory or digestive signs (information panels in the entrance). 
  • Invite swimmers out of the water to respect barrier gestures (sneezing, coughing into their hands and washing their hands with soap and water immediately after) to avoid inter-individual transmission outside the pools. 
  • Ensure the cleaning / disinfection of areas outside the pools, according to the usual protocols, with more regular emphasis on areas frequently touched by swimmers. 
  • Maintain access to collective swimming pools for swimmers under conditions of compliance with the above recommendations. » 

In conclusion, the High Council of Public Health concludes as follows: « Regardless of the type of public swimming pool, compliance with appropriate disinfection standards and appropriate individual behavior should prevent the risk of water transmission of the COVID-19 virus. »

Find the other recommendations of the HSCP: Concrete measures for the reopening of ERP and companies et Concrete measures for individual and group sports activities .

© Markus Spiske - Unsplash

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