Despite following COVID-19 protocols, indoor cycling classes at a Spinco fitness studio caused a coronavirus outbreak in at least 72 people in Ontario, Canada, public health officials said. . Up to 100 staff, clients, and family members may be exposed, CNN reported.
Spinco’s studio only opened in Hamilton, Ontario, in July, and follows coronavirus safety policies, Elizabeth Richardson, MD, Hamilton health official, told CNN in a statement. This includes screening staff and attendees, monitoring attendees, masking before and after class, washing towels, and cleaning rooms within 30 minutes after the end of a class. According to city officials, the Spinco also operates at half capacity and maintains a six-foot radius of space around each bicycle.
“We took all the steps offered to public health, even added a few, and the pandemic hit us again,” the studio wrote on Instagram. The outbreak appears to be linked to classes held from September 28 to October 4, and Spinco Hamilton has been closed since the outbreak was identified. Of the confirmed positive cases associated with the studio, 47 were primary cases (45 stakeholders and two staff) and 25 were secondary cases, indicating “household spread” to family, friends, or other contacts.
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There have been concerns about exercise classes internally potentially contributing to coronavirus transmission, but this appears to be one of the biggest related outbreaks. Officials are particularly concerned because the facility closely adheres to health protocols. “We’re constantly looking at what that means, what we need to understand about exercise classes,” Drs. Richardson in a press release on October 13, according to CNN.
Linsey Marr, PhD, an aviation expert and a professor of engineering at Virginia Tech, told Twitter that the protocol does not appear to require effective ventilation in the studio – an increasingly critical factor considering potential spread of the virus in the air. “Six feet is not enough,” he wrote. “The gym conducts health screening, cleaning, masks before and after class, 50% capacity, and 6 ‘around each bicycle. NOTHING ABOUT VENTILATION.”
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), a public health spokesman said the size of the outbreak, despite adherence to the protocol, “could provide a change in the rules and practices that are advancing.”