Ontario considers changes to safety protocols at gyms due to Hamilton COVID-19 outbreak
Ontario’s associate medical officer of health says the province is considering a change in safety protocols at gyms in response to a COVID-19 outbreak at Hamilton’s SPINCO studio.
During an update at Queen’s Park on Wednesday, Dr. Barbara Yaffe told reporters that the outbreak at the gym was “concerning” and that she has reached out to the province’s medical team for potential changes.
“I made recommendations that the public health measures team reconsider the guidelines for spin cycle places and other kinds of gyms, because that obviously, even though they followed guidelines, there was obviously significant transmission,” Yaffe said.
An Investigation from Hamilton public health has determined that SPINCO’s downtown location, which has been connected to 69 coronavirus cases, was following public health guidelines.
In a briefing on Tuesday, the city’s medical officer of health, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, characterized gyms as high-risk places amid the pandemic since people breathe at a higher rate during physical activity, tend to be boisterous due to loud music, and generally don’t wear masks.
“There’ve been more cases that are what we call secondary cases that have happened outside of this SPINCO membership group, where there’s been transmission to others,” Richardson said.
SPINCO says it was open for three and a half months after a provincial lockdown before being hit by the outbreak and says it will reopen once given clearance from public health.
Hamilton reports 29 new COVID-19 cases, new outbreak at Stoney Creek baby store
Hamilton public health reported 29 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, pushing the city’s total number of confirmed cases since the pandemic began to 1,436.
Officials say 42 per cent (102) of the city’s 243 new coronavirus cases in the last 10 days have been among people under the age of 30.
Hamilton has 193 active cases as of Oct. 14.
Downtown gym SPINCO now has 69 cases tied to its outbreak — 46 cases that attended the gym and 23 secondary cases who made contact with gym members.
The city has six outbreaks, with the most recent declared at Kushies baby clothing and toy store in Stoney Creek. The retail outlet is reporting COVID-19 cases among three staff members.
There are also outbreaks involving staff members at Shannen Koostachin Elementary School and Sacred Heart of Jesus Elementary School.
The Salvation Army Lawson Ministries on Main Street East and Dundurn Place Care Centre in downtown are also in the middle of coronavirus outbreaks.
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