FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 1, 2020
For More Information Contact: Larry Hill, (757) 683-9175
Virginia Department of Health – Beach Monitoring Status Updates during COVID-19 Pandemic
(Richmond, Va.)— The Virginia Coastal Beach Monitoring and Notification Program normally conducts weekly beach water samples mid-May through September, at 45 sites. When beach samples indicate an unsafe level of bacteria, the health department issues beach advisories to let the public know when there is a higher risk of waterborne illness.
Local Health Districts who conduct this monitoring have evaluated their resources and determined whether monitoring could be conducted safely by their staff during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The following are all beaches which are normally sampled in Norfolk, Virginia Beach and King George County as part of the beach monitoring program, and will be sampled weekly beginning mid-May through September:
Virginia Beach Beaches:
First Landing (VA Department of Parks and Recreation)
Oceanfront (15th Street to 78th Street)
Sandbridge & Little Island Beach
North Community Beach
East Community Beach
King George County:
The following are beaches that will be sampled weekly beginning mid-June through September (or consistent with the date of the Governor’s Executive Order #51):
Eastern Shore (Northampton and Accomack Counties):
Guard Shore (VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries)
Assateague (National Park Service)
Cape Charles Town
Kiptopeke (VA Department of Parks and Recreation)
Yorktown (National Park Service)
The VDH Beach Map is updated weekly with results of beach monitoring at www.SwimHealthyVa.com.
The public may follow @VDHBeach on Twitter for notifications when beach advisories are issued (based on unsafe levels of bacteria in sample results) and lifted (when bacteria are below safe sample result levels).
Tips for Healthy and Safe Swimming in Natural Waters :
- Continue to follow the social distancing recommendations of CDC and avoid groups of 10 or more people.
- Observe and follow posted beach sign recommendations.
- Lifeguards may not be on duty during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Look out for rip currents and avoid swimming near them.
- Never swim alone. Always swim with a buddy.
- Use life jackets and wear them appropriately. Avoid the use of water-wings or other flotation devices which are not listed or sold as a “life jacket,” which should securely fasten around the swimmer.
- Provide continuous and attentive supervision near swimmers. Cell phones down, eyes up!
- Children should be out of the water every hour for bathroom breaks.
- Swim diapers do not prevent fecal matter from getting into the water and should be changed in a proper bathroom facility and disposed of in trash receptacles. Never change diapers on the beach! Wash hands thoroughly with soapy water afterward.
- Clean up after pets by properly disposing of pet waste in trash receptacles.
- Avoid swimming in discolored water, water with scum, water that smells bad, or if there are dead or dying animals near the water. When in doubt, stay out!
- Avoid getting water in eyes, nose, and mouth. Teach children not to swallow water, which may contain germs that could make them sick. Nose and earplugs may help prevent children from getting water in their noses and ears.
- Use sunscreen, and remember to apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent.
For more information on staying healthy and safe in and around the water this summer, visit www.SwimHealthyVA.com