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Oroville Orcas return to the water with new health guidelines

After months of time off due to coronavirus, the Oroville Orcas were allowed back in the water as long as they abide by new health guidelines

Posted: Jun 24, 2020 12:02 AM
Updated: Jun 24, 2020 8:52 AM

OROVILLE, Calif. - Sounds of splashing water couldn't have come at a better time. Once Butte County entered phase three of reopening, Oroville Orcas Swim Coach Alyssa Tomlinson went right to work.

"We had reached out to Feather River Parks and Rec, which is who owns the pool and who allows us to rent the pool from them," said Tomlinson. "From there, we received the local okay and the state okay to open as long as we were following state, local, and USA Swimming guidelines."

Guidelines that include temperature checks for everyone, social distancing between swimmers, and lists of health precautions given to every parent to make sure their little orca is safe.

"We're really excited to be able to allow the normalcy for the children," Tomlinson said. "I'm sure this has been a hard time for them. So to allow some of these kids to come back into the pool and, although we are social distancing, they're still seeing their friends being socially distant so I think it's really important for them and their mental well-being."

Tomlinson had to cut her usual participant size to accommodate social distancing.

"Last year we had about 76 swimmers," said Tomlinson. "This year, we had to cap it at 40, but hopefully as time goes on we'll be able to allow for more swimmers."

The CDC says that as long as swimming pools are properly maintained, the chlorine in the water should "inactivate" coronavirus, which helps prevent the virus from spreading.

While there's also no evidence that coronavirus spreads to people through the water in pools, pool-goers could still be at risk of being exposed to the virus if they don't follow health and safety precautions before and after entering the water.

That's why education is all part of Tomlinson's process.

"We sent numerous emails to our current swimmers and families so that they could better prep their swimmer for when they arrive. It is a lot harder for the younger kids. They don't fully understand, but we just kind of continue to remind them that we have to practice social distancing," said Tomlinson.

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California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3213222

Reported Deaths: 37543
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles107967215314
San Bernardino2660281678
Riverside2643632857
Orange2377082704
San Diego2286322375
Santa Clara985831264
Kern90564591
Fresno858081067
Sacramento841101185
Alameda70823896
Ventura66402525
San Joaquin59665835
Contra Costa55245489
Stanislaus49065796
Tulare43574542
Monterey37527259
San Mateo34294340
San Francisco30559293
Santa Barbara27149267
Solano27041115
Imperial25707510
Merced25575331
Sonoma25141251
Kings20138161
Placer17839188
San Luis Obispo16957158
Madera14000151
Santa Cruz13009135
Marin12024165
Yolo11210138
Shasta10054129
Butte9820136
El Dorado818462
Sutter806983
Napa800548
Lassen526916
San Benito522351
Yuba517630
Tehama446846
Tuolumne347740
Nevada335574
Mendocino329336
Amador306733
Lake272432
Humboldt262427
Glenn202622
Colusa18719
Calaveras170423
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Inyo105129
Del Norte8742
Plumas6135
Modoc3903
Mariposa3555
Trinity3065
Sierra950
Alpine730
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A Pacific storm is now moving into northern California. The clouds have arrived, the wind is getting stronger, and we can expect areas of rain and snow tonight, and it will be heavy at times. Snow will fall down to the valley floor through Wednesday morning.
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