GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Even as temperatures rise in the hot summer months, Greenville doctors are saying the threat of COVID-19 is growing.
Bon Secours St. Francis’ Chief Clinical Officer and Medical Director Dr. Marcus Blackstone said it’s clear that high temperatures are not killing the Coronavirus in Greenville county, as some had hoped.
“Over the last 3 weeks, the numbers are going up,” he said.
He believes a recent spike of cases in Greenville County was tied to Memorial Day weekend celebrations and fears a similar spike on the weekend of July 4.
“We think its directly related to a lack of social distancing,” he said. “People in crowded situations as well as people not wearing masks.”
Dr. Blackstone said that summer outdoor activities such as hiking or biking pose a low exposure risk, even when passing others in the same path within a six-foot distance.
“You have full movement of air around you. The amount of contact is small.”
However, he warns that playing close contact sports or being in a confined indoor space with others put people at high risk for exposure to COVID-19.
“The longer you have contact, the higher risk of exposure,” he explained.
When swimming in pools or beaches, Dr. Blackstone says he and other local doctors believe the virus is diluted in chlorine and saltwater.
“I think we worry more about outside the water, bathroom lines, food lines, that kind of thing, or just too many people using the facility,” Dr. Blackstone said.
He suggests sending children to extended stay summer camps rather than day camps.
“If you screen them before, test them before, if they’re not going in an out… a week-long summer camp would be safer than a day camp,” he said.
He recommends not eating at barbecue gatherings, and eating before attending any social gathering. If you must eat around others, he suggests keeping a safe distance and eating “in a known environment where you can control who’s eating what.”
If attending or hosting an event such as a wedding, he urges everyone to wear a mask and avoid buffets.
“You don’t let people get their own food and you do all the safety measures from a serving standpoint,” he said. “Wearing a mask is such a smart idea. There is no harm in wearing a mask. Something as simple as social distancing and wearing a mask saves lives,” he said.