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Playgrounds at all Sacramento Regional Parks to close due to coronavirus concerns | Update

Playground equipment will be cornered off as California is under a stay-at-home order.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Update March 24: 

All Sacramento Regional Parks playgrounds are closed due to coronavirus concerns. Park officials are asking residents to not use the equipment at this time.

Original story

School districts across the country are shutting down campuses because of concerns about the coronavirus.

"School closures would make absolutely no difference whatsoever unless if kids are actually kept home or are socially distant," Sacramento County Public Health Director Dr. Peter Beilenson told ABC10.

Beilenson said parks are a good place to bring children to because they would be able to keep a six-feet distance away from the other kids.

While health officials are saying social distancing is the best practice to keep your children safe from the coronavirus, that doesn't mean you have to cancel your kids' playdates. 

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Saskia Popescu, Ph.D., an infection prevention epidemiologist in Phoenix, spoke to the New York Times that you should take precautions such as keeping playdates small to maybe just two or three kids at a time. 

Popescu told the New York Times that it is important to create ground rules with other parents such as that you would only be comfortable with the playdate if their child does not show symptoms like a runny nose.

While children have not shown to be affected by the coronavirus so far, Beilenson said officials are concerned about cases of children infecting their grandparents who might be taking care of them.  

CDC officials said older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease are at a higher risk for the coronavirus.

Social distancing means to keep at least six feet distance from other people whenever possible.  The number of cases of the coronavirus decreases if people maintain distance from others.  

School closures are an effort to flatten the epidemic curve, which is a term epidemiologists use to describe the lifespan of a disease outbreak.

People should not congregate in large congregated areas such as coffee shops, Beilenson said.  

RELATED: 

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW:  Sacramento County Public Health Director Dr. Peter Beilenson explains how kids should social distance while school is out. 


COVID19 BACKGROUND

According to the CDC, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a family of viruses that is spreadable from person to person. Coronavirus is believed to have been first detected in a seafood market in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. If someone is sick with coronavirus, the symptoms they may show include mild to severe respiratory illness, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Currently, there is no vaccine; however, the CDC suggests the following precautions, along with any other respiratory illness:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.

WHY HEALTH OFFICIALS ARE SO CONCERNED

Some people have compared the low overall death toll to the flu's high annual death toll in the United States as a reason not to be concerned about COVID-19, however, doctors and health officials are concerned for three main reasons:

  1. There's no vaccine yet and won't be one for until early 2021, at the soonest. Scientists are still researching what other medications could help patients. 
  2. Some people have built up immunity to the flu, but few have immunity to COVID-19 version of coronavirus
  3. Both the flu and COVID-19 are spread by droplets, but COVID-19 might be spread in the air. Scientists are researching exactly how COVID-19 spreads.

HEAR FROM DOCTORS:

Dr. Payal Kohli, a cardiologist & doctor of internal medicine, spoke with ABC10's Walt Gray about the novel coronavirus, those most at risk, vaccine timeline, & more.

Dr. Dean Blumberg, the Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at UC Davis, answered some FAQs from ABC10 viewers about the coronavirus:

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WATCH MORE: How coronavirus cases have impacted Copperopolis