Anyone who has watched Star Trek knows that Spock was known for his logic. He'd say "Highly illogical" whenever something wasn't (logical, that is). Last week, I noticed a sign at the recreation center asking patrons to show their BC vaccine card I was thrilled, until I arrived at the reception desk, where I learned that it is only a requirement for the people who use the gym.
Unlike Spock and his logical, unemotional approach, I am frustrated, confused and upset. I'm also disappointed with what seems to be a blatant disregard for those of us who are immunocompromised and use the pool for exercise.
Back To Near Normal
I wasn't sure what to expect with the relaxation of restrictions. As I discovered, we are now allowed to enter the pool without booking. All the lockers and showers are available and the lanes are no longer doubled. Since this changeover, I feel fortunate that, whenever I go, I have been able to get a lane to myself.
What I don't understand is why people who use the pool do not need to show proof of vaccine. We all have to use the change room and shower areas where people tend to be crowded together, like too many fish in an aquarium. Only instead of eating each other, there is a possibility of infecting one another. The lanes can also fill up, too.
I don't use the hot tub or the sauna, but those are areas where it can get crowded, as someone recently pointed out to me.
Please Make It Safe for Immunocompromised Swimmers!
I am extremely disheartened and frustrated with this public health ruling. As a long-haul RA'er and a long-haul swimmer, I rely on swimming to maintain my mobility. The water is the one place I can be where I can work on my endurance without pain...most of the time.
I don't want to give up swimming because I fear an unvaccinated person will infect me. What is the difference of someone huffing and puffing on the bicycle next to me in the gym or someone doing the same thing in the change room or in my lane?
What About Seniors?
Seniors are also vulnerable to this lapse, for lack of a better word. Getting into the pool provides them with the same benefits that I enjoy.
A number of them attend Aquafit classes, too. While the size of the class is restricted, they can still bunch up in the water. They also use the change rooms and the showers.
In an Australian study of 1,700 men aged 70 and older, the swimmers experienced 33% fewer falls.
"Falls are a major public health problem in older adults. Some falls can cause broken bones, head trauma and other severe injuries, but even less-serious falls can lower people's mobility while they are recovering, and lead to other problems."
As noted above, swimming can help reduce health care costs for the senior population. Swimming with unvaccinated people can increase them, especially if it leads to more COVID-19 cases.
Huge Appreciation for COVID-19 Swimming Regulations
Even though I'm immunocompromised, I continued to swim during COVID-19, thanks to the excellent safety procedures that were put into place by the City of Delta, as mandated by the Ministry of Health.
I felt safe because of these protocols:
- In order to swim, we had to book a time.
- We then had to line up outside, wearing masks and be appropriately distanced.
- When it was time to enter the building, we were assigned a locker to prevent us from bunching up together.
- Only three people were allowed to swim per double lane.
- We had to go home to shower.
I loved COVID-19 swimming. It was quiet, as the music wasn't on; the conditions were right for my "Zen swim." Another positive thing about only three people per lane was that I didn't have to worry about a "side-swipe swimmer" or a "zig-zag swimmer" hitting my painful hands.
Under normal circumstances, it is always a gamble about who would come into my lane. Were they observing the recommended Slow, Medium, Fast signs? Do they swim in a straight line? With RA (rheumatoid arthritis), an aquatic collision can be extremely painful. I was thankful that the guards were strict about moving people into the speed-appropriate lanes.
I Side with Spock
I'm not alone in this concern. Several pool "regulars" are wondering about this illogical decision as well.
Science has shown that seniors and the immunocompromised are more vulnerable to infection. Let's ensure that everyone is as safe as possible, while continuing to get exercise; a powerful health enhancer. The last thing we need to be doing is less activity instead of more.
As an immunocompromised person, I want to "live long and prosper" and part of the way to do that is to swim, preferably without fear. Please make the logical decision to require proof of vaccination for pool patrons.
Update! I'm thrilled to report that I just heard from the Aquatic Centre Supervisor with the announcement that there is a change to this policy. This is what she said, "As of Sunday, October 24th, ALL participants age 12+ are required to have full vaccination in our facilities."