Spin studio reopening triggers massive COVID-19 outbreak

An outbreak of the novel coronavirus at a boutique fitness center in Canada has health officials worried, despite the fitness center following precautions set in place to accommodate guests during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SPINCO, a spin-cycling studio in Hamilton, Ontario, had reopened just months ago before a mass outbreak of the virus occurred recently, leaving 61 people infected, and as many as 100 others exposed to the virus, according to CNN, which cited public health officials.

The studio — which reopened in July — had been following protocols such as tracking participants for each class, keeping clean towels and sanitizing rooms, and screening staff and guests, according to health officials, but an outbreak still occurred.

The exposure dates happened between Sept. 28 and Oct. 4, according to Fox News.

Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, the medical officer of health in Hamilton, said that 44 of the positive cases come from participants at the spin studio, while the remaining 17 are considered secondary cases stemming from the initially infected persons.

From Fox News:

“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.

CNN reported that SPINCO was operating at 50% capacity, with safety protocols such as a 6-foot radius around each bike, in order.

In a statement released on Instagram, SPINCO said everyone who had tested positive is reportedly doing well.

View this post on Instagram

Dear SPINCO FAM! . It’s Thanksgiving, and we are thankful for you. . We love you and we miss you! 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! . When 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. SPINCO Hamilton has been closed from the moment the outbreak was identified. . As of today, everyone who has tested positive, are well. Our team, along side 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. . In total we have been open three and a half months if you can believe it. It seems longer. It seems like we have been a community for as long as the city existed! Something even our wildest dreams couldn’t imagine!! In 3 months, an entire community was developed and began thriving. A world of inclusivity and diversity; empowering body positive humans! The change that each of you has brought to this city and to us can not be put in words! . 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. . 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.. . . . . . . .

A post shared by SPINCO HAMILTON (@spincohamilton) on

“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 statement said.

On its website, SPINCO listed all the precautions its taken in order to reopen and operate safely. Richardson said via the CBC that the outbreak is considered “concerning” due to the size of it.

“It’s concerning in that it has extended beyond the initial cases who are related to the classes, but gone into their household contacts and other contacts, so it’s a very large outbreak,” Richardson said.

She added: “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.”

Gyms and other fitness centers in New York City began reopening last month. Occupancy was limited to 33% and masks were a must in order to enter.