Oakland, Wayne, Macomb Counties and Detroit close all public pools to prevent spread of COVID-19

Summer in Southeast Michigan usually means a trip to the pool for many but with COVID-19 still spreading throughout the area and cases and deaths continuing to increase, Oakland, Wayne, Macomb Counties and the City of Detroit are issuing a joint emergency order to close all publicly license pools.

The joint order was issued Thursday at 3 p.m. and is in place for every publicly license pool in the counties. 

The joint orders are issued under the Michigan Public Health Code to safeguard Southeast Michigan residents from the possible spread of the disease. Pool operators will be required to continue scheduled maintenance 

"With temperatures rising, swimming pools have potential to attract large groups. As regional leaders, we are committed to doing the right thing, and closing pools is the right thing to do to protect the health and safety of residents and prevent the spread of the virus. This effort is also intended to help reduce the potential of a summer spike in new COVID-19 cases that could prevent schools from opening in the fall," officials said in a statement.

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The pool water itself is low risk of transmitting COVID-19 but it is difficult to maintain social distancing in and around the pools.

Therapy pools used strictly for treatment in healthcare settings are excluded from this closure.

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When pools are allowed to reopen, they have to contact their respective Public Health Authority for an inspection to ensure the health and safety of residents.

Michigan, especially Detroit and surrounding communities, has been one of the hardest-hit states. Since the first cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the state on March 10, thousands more have become infected and hundreds have died

Schools have been closed now for the remainder of the year and Gov. Whitmer's statewide stay-at-home order has been extended through the end of April. 

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Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough and breathing trouble. Most develop only mild symptoms. But some people, usually those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, which can be fatal.

To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.

Are you showing symptoms? Try Beaumont's virtual screening tool

And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.