July 29, 2016 - 4:30 PM
VERNON - Health officials are letting the public know they can safely swim at a Shuswap beach now that bacteria levels are back to normal.
The Interior Health Authority closed Sunnybrae Regional Park beach last week after test results showed E. coli levels were above Health Canada guidelines.
Jennifer Jacobsen with Interior Health says recent tests show the levels have dropped to satisfactory levels and the warning is being rescinded.
A notice advising people not to swim at the beach was posted just before the August long weekend after E. coli levels spiked over a two-week testing period.
“E. coli itself may not make anyone sick but it indicates there is a higher level of other bacteria in the water,” Jacobsen said at the time.
High E. coli levels indicate an elevated risk, especially for children and the elderly, of contracting a gastrointestinal illness.
“Children usually swim in the shallow areas which have the most impact,” Jacobsen said. “They also tend to drink water while in the lake.”
Jacobsen said such situations are usually caused by periods of rain washing contaminants into the water or high winds stirring up the lake bottom.
She said beaches in the Southern Interior are generally good quality and added swimming closures are rare.
— This story was updated at 9:35 a.m. Aug. 5, 2016 to say E. coli levels dropped to a satisfactory level and the beach is now back open to swimming.
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