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Matthews Beach in Seattle closes due to high bacteria levels

The beach will be closed for at least a week until further testing takes place.

SEATTLE — Matthews Beach in Seattle closed Wednesday due to high bacteria levels.

People and pets should stay out of the water, including for drinking and swimming but also wading and engaging in any water-related activities.

The beach will remain closed until at least next week when another sampling test is done by King County Department of Natural Resources & Parks (KCDNRP).

Matthews Beach will be tested every week until bacteria levels are safe to reopen, according to the county. Beaches are usually sampled on Tuesday afternoons, after which the results should be available online in one or two days.

The beach was discovered to be high in bacteria due to routine testing. Every week the county tests for bacteria concentrations in order to determine the risk of getting sick.

Anyone who swam or waded in Matthews Beach may have been exposed to high levels of bacteria. Common symptoms include diarrhea, stomachaches, headaches, fever or feeling nauseous or throwing up. If this is anyone's case, call a doctor and inform them of where you swam.

Matthews Beach is the largest freshwater bathing beach in Seattle, according to Seattle Parks and Recreation. 

Last year, the beach closed down for weeks due to bacteria concentrations.

Officials haven't announced the cause behind the high concentration of bacteria, but it usually means that there is poop in the water, according to the county’s Lake Swimming Beach Program. The source of this might be from people, dogs or other animals. It could also come from sewage spills, but this is often not the case.

Even if bacteria levels drop to normal, Matthews Beach will remain closed for the summer due to a lifeguard shortage.

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