SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Memorial Day is considered the unofficial start to summer for some. Several will use the weekend to head to the beach, a pool or even a barbecue, but health leaders are asking you to celebrate with caution as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact our community.
“There’s nothing wrong with any of that per say, it’s more how you do it,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, director of the Coastal Health District.
He says most important things to keep in mind this holiday weekend is social distancing, wearing a mask and good hand hygiene. While several may be ready go out, Dr. Davis says since restrictions have relaxed case numbers have been trending up according to the Coastal Health District’s data.
“Yesterday was the single largest number reported positive cases in the district since this thing began, not in Chatham County, but in the district,” explained Dr. Lawton Davis.
This is likely because they have increased their testing efforts. Dr. Davis says although they are seeing just a 2% positive test rate, it’s still critical people be wise about the guidelines. Knowing several will head towards the water this weekend, Dr. Davis says it’s safe if done correctly.
“Water in the pools, again assuming it’s been chlorinated, is perfectly safe,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, Director of the Coastal Health District. “The ocean water is safe. It does appear that ultraviolet light will inactivate the virus and so I would think the sand would be very, very safe.”
While these places are okay, Dr. Davis says you still need to socially distance at the pool and beach.
As for cookouts and barbecues, Dr. Davis says there’s no evidence the virus is transmitted in food, but events with several people outside of your home he warns against. These gatherings can be called super spreader events.
“Many of the people who study these things now feel that what we call super spreader events are really what drives the pandemic,” explained Davis. “And so a COVID-19 party with 10 or 12 people if you’re violating our social distancing recommendations, so to speak you’re not being careful and one person has it yes you can easily spread it to others.”
The CDC predicts about a third of coronavirus infections are asymptomatic, further encouraging you to wear a mask to protect others.
Dr. Davis says though some new information shows we aren’t as likely to contract the virus on surfaces you should still practice caution this weekend and wash your hands often.