Hamilton

69 people infected in COVID-19 outbreak at Hamilton spin studio, Spinco

At least eight more people have contracted COVID-19 because of an outbreak at a spin studio in Hamilton.

44 customers, 23 household spread cases and 2 staff members have been infected

The COVID-19 outbreak at Spinco on James Street North in Hamilton has infected at least 69 people. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

At least eight more people have contracted COVID-19 because of an outbreak at a spin studio in Hamilton.

On Wednesday afternoon, Hamilton Public Health reported 69 total cases related to Spinco, on James Street North.

Of those, 46 are primary cases (44 patrons, two staff members) and 23 are secondary "household spread" cases, such as friends, family or other contacts.

It is city's largest current outbreak and one of the worst fitness studio outbreaks in the country.

Public health has stated that Spinco followed all the necessary safety procedures throughout the process, but also noted that exercise and aerobic activity put people at a higher risk of infection.

Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Hamilton's medical officer of health, said Tuesday that no one connected to the outbreak had been hospitalized.

She declined to provide details about specific cases, citing privacy, but said about three quarters of those infected are female and roughly one quarter are male.

Ages range from people in their late teens to late 50s, according to the doctor.

Asked whether or not the outbreak would be considered a "super-spreader event," Richardson said public health generally doesn't use that term, instead calling it a "very large outbreak" with a lot of transmission.

"It is concerning in that it has extended, of course, beyond the initial cases that were related to the classes [and] gone into their household contacts and other contacts," she said.

"It's a very large outbreak. We continue to look at what does it mean? What do we need to understand in terms of exercise classes ... in terms of control measures."

A sign on the front door of Spinco describes some precautions meant to protect staff and patrons from COVID-19. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

Dr. Martha Fulford, an infectious diseases specialist at McMaster Children's Hospital and Hamilton Health Sciences, said she believes the Spinco outbreak could be considered a super-spreader.

"From everything I'm seeing and hearing about it, one of these so-called super-spreader events where you probably have one person who, for whatever inexplicable reason, is such an effective transmitter," she said.

Fulford said she believes most gyms where people can maintain physical distancing remain safe to use, adding the outbreak doesn't mean shutting down fitness settings is the right thing to do.

"Lockdowns do not make the virus go away. It simply slows things down while you try to figure out what you're doing," she said.

"This is something that I think is being forgotten, that somehow lockdown is a cure. We still need that long-term plan for how we're going to deal with this."

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