A large coronavirus outbreak tied to a Hamilton, Ontario spin studio has now officially spawned 44 infection among riders and staff, plus more than a dozen subsequent household infections.
An infected rider visited Spinco Hamilton on September 28, and the studio says the virus spread among class attendees until October 8. Public health officials officially declared an outbreak on October 12.
The city’s medical officer of health, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, says the large outbreak is concerning, especially because it’s extended beyond the spin studio by jumping from cyclists to their family members.
“We continue to look at what does it mean, what do we need to understand about exercise classes?” Richardson said at a news conference Tuesday.
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She stopped short of labelling the initial infected person a “superspreader,” saying that term was coined years ago during the SARS pandemic. Instead, she characterized this as an outbreak with lots of transmission with implications for fitness studio coronavirus precautions.
Richardson explained that gyms are higher risk environments because people tend not to wear masks since they’re exercising, they breath more frequently and deeply, and in group classes coaches may be yelling to be heard over music.
“Are there other measures that need to be looked at in terms of gyms?,” she said, suggesting even smaller class sizes or turning down the music so people don’t need to speak over it.
On Instagram, Spinco Hamilton said their studio has been closed since they found out about the outbreak. They also confirmed that anyone who is at risk of coronavirus exposure from the studio has now been contacted directly.
“While we wait and remain closed, you have our commitment, that we will not re-open until It is safe to do so,” the studio said.
“We need to show our city and the rest of our province that the Spinco community is not going anywhere! We are strong, we are tough and we fight together.”
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Dear SPINCO FAM! . It’s Thanksgiving, and we are thankful for you. . We love you and we miss you! When we started the journey to open a SPINCO franchise in Hamilton, we had a dream of building an inclusive space for everyone to exercise! . When we got the green light to reopen in July, like everyone we were hesitant, but we took all the measures public health offered, even added a few, and still the pandemic struck us again! . It started September 28 and spread amongst specific classes until October 5th. SPINCO Hamilton has been closed from the moment the outbreak was identified. . As of today, everyone who has tested positive, are well. Our team, along side Public Health has notified everyone. . We have been following all the procedures set in place by public health. We have been in constant contact with our riders and we will continue to do so, if not daily, then every few days, with updates. . In total we have been open three and a half months if you can believe it. It seems longer. It seems like we have been a community for as long as the city existed! Something even our wildest dreams couldn’t imagine!! In 3 months, an entire community was developed and began thriving. A world of inclusivity and diversity; empowering body positive humans! The change that each of you has brought to this city and to us can not be put in words! . So we are at a point, where either we let this Pandemic own us, or we take ownership back. . We are determined to switch the script! We can and we know the power of our community. . So while we wait and remain closed, you have our commitment, that we will not re-open until It is safe to do so, we need to show our city and the rest of our province that the SPINCO community is not going anywhere! We are strong, we are tough and we fight together.. . . . . . . .