The Town of Mount Pleasant announced that it will reopen the town pool on Monday after officials closed the Valhalla facility for four days once it was learned that two lifeguards tested positive for COVID-19.
Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi said the town immediately contacted county health officials last Wednesday evening after the tests for the two individuals, who are siblings, came back positive.
He did not recall what days the lifeguards last worked but the county Department of Health stated in an advisory on Friday that at least one of the individuals had not been at the pool since last Sunday. A message left by The Examiner with the Department of Health for more information was not immediately returned Friday afternoon.
The town confirmed that the lifeguards were unaware that they had contracted COVID-19 when they last reported for work and didn’t know they were positive until they received their test results. They immediately contacted their supervisor once they found out they had the virus.
Both lifeguards, who Fulgenzi described as young people, had socially distanced and had been wearing face coverings while they have been at the pool this summer, he said. The town issued a statement Saturday reading that “only a small number of employees came into direct contact with the affected employees.”
The process of contact tracing was put into place shortly after the town notified the county.
“They (the lifeguards) did everything they were supposed to do so I’m very confident that this is a very limited involvement here,” Fulgenzi said.
As of Saturday, there were no additional known positives that have been traced to the lifeguards. They have been at home and are quarantining for 14 days since their test results. The small number of other employees who had contact with the pair are also quarantining for that same period of time.
The pool was cleared to reopen Friday night after the town completed disinfection of the area. However, the town needed to meet minimum staffing requirements, which is delaying the reopening until Monday.
“They want us to open as soon as possible,” Fulgenzi said. “They feel that because of the weather the way that it is, it’s safer for people to have a place to cool off then it is to be dying in the heat.”
The pool opened on July 6 and has been operating with morning and afternoon sessions and with limited capacity that adheres to state health guidelines. An early session has been held daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. followed by an hour of cleaning and a late session from 3 to 7 p.m.
Fulgenzi said that while attendance has been much more sparse than usual, residents visiting the pool have been following the protocols, including social distancing and wearing face masks. He estimated that attendance has been about one-third of what it would be in a typical summer during the first two and a half weeks of the swim season.
It was not known when the community center, located in the same complex on Lozza Drive and which was also closed late last week as a precaution, will be operating.
Fulgenzi urged the public to remain vigilant and to stay home if they have any questions about their health.
“If they have the symptoms they have to stay away from people,” he said. “If you’re sick, you stay home. That’s the way it should be. You have to be responsible.”
Closure of the Mount Pleasant pool wasn’t the only swim facility that was forced to stop operations last week. The Department of Health reported that the county is also working with staff and municipal officials at Mamaroneck’s Hommocks Pool to identify those who may have been in close proximity to a person who tested positive for COVID-19 and to assure they quarantine and are tested.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/