County aquatic centers, campground to re-open next week

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — The county’s two aquatic centers, along with the campground, will re-open next week with increased cleaning and social distancing practices, officials said.

Tuesday, the Gifford Aquatic Center will reopen at 10 a.m. and North County Aquatic Center will reopen at 6 a.m., Indian River County Administrator Jason Brown said. The Donald MacDonald Campground in Sebastian will reopen Monday.

Brown spoke about plans to reopen county facilities Friday in a joint-news conference with the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Health.

The aquatic centers will be open for lap swimming only, Brown said. There will be one swimmer per lane.

Every other camp site at the MacDonald campground will be open, while the others will be closed. Officials said the campsites will be limited to members of the same household.

Staff at the campground and aquatic centers will provide enhanced cleaning and disinfecting to items frequently touched inside and outside of restrooms and at water fountains. Officials encourage campers to bring their own hand sanitizer and wipes to use in public spaces.

County officials said the boat dock will remain open, but playgrounds will remain closed until further notice. The T-dock will be open, and staff will monitor campers to make sure they are practicing social distancing.

All campsite reservations should be done on the county’s website.

The aquatic centers and campground, along with other county facilities, were previously closed because of coronavirus public health concerns. Officials have been slowly reopening county-operated amenities, such as beaches, as the number of county virus cases continues to slow.

So far, officials have re-opened the county shooting range, guarded beach access areas, all public tennis and pickleballs courts, and the Sandridge Golf Club. County officials also reopened the Indian River County main library and north county library, but strictly for book holds and pickups.

Social distancing measures were put in place at all facilities re-opening to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

County cases

The number of positive virus cases in Indian River County reached 100 Friday, with eight deaths, health department officials said. Cory Richter, the former deputy fire chief assisting with the county’s response to the virus, provided an update on the county’s two hospitals.

Richter said there are four people who previously tested positive for the virus that are currently hospitalized. That’s a decrease by one from last week’s hospital numbers.

Richter said Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital has had 6,097 calls to its virus hotline. The hospital has tested 2,571 people total, with 2,483 testing negative, 20 pending and 68 positive.

Sebastian River Medical Center has tested 80 people total, with 71 testing negative, one pending and eight testing positive.

Even though county facilities and businesses are slowly reopening,  residents should keep practicing social distancing guidelines, health Officer Miranda Hawker said.

“It’s easy to let our guard down when we see things starting to re-open, starting to get back to some level of normalcy,” Hawker said. “Please be vigilant about your social distancing and wearing masks. Anyone can have complications from COVID-19. The healthier that all of us are, the healthier those with great risk of complications will be.”





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