Hamilton

Here's how the COVID-19 outbreak at Hamilton spin studio Spinco spread

Hamilton Public Health Services (HPHS) has revealed a glimpse of how COVID-19 spread from Spinco into the community.

Public health is sending a letter to gyms with new interim guidance on how to prevent COVID-19 spread

Hamilton Public Health Services shows a graphic that illustrates the spread of COVID-19 from Spinco. (Hamilton Public Health Services)

What started with a COVID-19 case in one person at a downtown Hamilton spin studio has led to at least 74 people being infected.

And Hamilton Public Health Services (HPHS) has now revealed a glimpse of how it spread.

At a board of health meeting on Monday, HPHS released a graphic with preliminary information. Of the 74 infected, the graphic shows, public health believes 48 got the virus at Spinco.

Those 48 people were connected to other parts of the community, including households, school and daycare centres, healthcare facilities and other workplaces (restaurants, gyms, retail stores, etc.).

(CBC)

Mackenzie Slifierz, HPHS epidemiologist, noted not all of these locations led to positive COVID-19 cases. Still, it led to 26 infected people who are not Spinco members.

Public health confirmed on Friday that various businesses had been impacted by the Spinco outbreak, but won't reveal which ones, citing privacy concerns.

The graphic doesn't show how COVID-19 spread within Spinco, but Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, the city's medical officer of health, said the spin studio and its patrons followed all public health guidance.

Now, the province is reviewing guidelines meant to stop the spread of the virus in fitness settings. 

Hamilton public health offers new advice

Public health has since provided interim tips including:

  • Ensuring proper ventilation in the building.
  • Physical distancing of at least three metres between people.
  • A capacity limit of 10 people, including staff, per fitness room.
  • Wearing masks in exercise classes and during workout.
  • Avoid playing music so coaches and participants don't need to yell.

"We're going to formalize that with a letter today that will go out to all gyms to make more formal the recommendations we have," Richardson said.

She added public health may update Hamilton's masking bylaw to include mask-wearing even during exercise. Right now, exercise is part of the exemption.

The investigation into Spinco continues, and Richardson said the city could see more secondary cases from the outbreak.

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