COVID-19 outbreak linked to spin studio in Canada: officials

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More than 60 cases of the novel coronavirus have been linked to a spin studio in Canada, according to public health officials there.

Some 61 people have been infected with the virus in connection with an outbreak at the cycling studio Spinco in Hamilton, which is located in the province of Ontario.

Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, the medical officer of health in Hamilton, said 44 of the cases have been reported among spin studio patrons, while 17 are secondary cases linked to the primary cases.

“We haven’t kept an exact count on how many of those [secondary cases] have had contacts,” she said. “In general, we’re up to having people having 20 to 25 contacts per case that we investigate … we haven’t specifically tracked contacts for this outbreak and don’t do that generally,” she said when warning the outbreak could grow larger, according to the Canadian outlet CBC News.

Exposure dates range between Sept. 28 and Oct. 4.

It’s not currently clear how the outbreak began, as the studio reportedly has taken “proper pandemic protocol” since reopening, per the outlet.

“Gyms are a higher risk place because of the fact generally people are taking off their masks, breathing at a higher rate and more deeply, and especially in classes where there’s coaching going on, that tends to be a louder tone to speak over music,” Richardson said.

On its website, Spinco lists the precautions it has taken, including enhanced sanitation and social distancing measures. Both staff and members are required to wear masks at all times while in the studio, but class participants are, however, allowed to remove their masks once they are clipped into their bike.

“Instructors must request all riders put their masks back on prior to getting off their bikes at the end of class, and must wear them out of the studio,” the website notes.

In a statement posted to Instagram earlier this week, the owners of the Spinco studio in Hamilton said that everyone who has tested positive is doing well.

“We love you and we miss you!” the statement reads in part. “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. 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,” the post reads. “SPINCO Hamilton has been closed from the moment the outbreak was identified. As of today, everyone who has tested positive, are well. Our team, alongside 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.”

The owners vowed to come back stronger once it’s deemed safe to do so.

“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,” the post read. “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..”

In other parts of Ontario, namely Peel, Ottawa, and Toronto, gyms are facing a second closure. But Richardson said officials are continuing to review the outbreak in Hamilton before again shutting down fitness studios there.

“If we saw something that extended beyond this one particular instance we would definitely move to do something more quickly, but right now … saying make sure you’re wearing a mask, make sure you’re distancing, turn that music down, don’t be yelling …while we look at this and see what more could be done,” she said, according to CBC News.

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