Despite the COVID-19 protocols being followed, indoor cycling lessons at a Spinco gym have triggered a coronavirus outbreak of at least 72 people in Ontario, Canada, public health officials say. As many as 100 employees, clients and family members may have been exposed, CNN reported.
The Spinco study had just reopened in Hamilton, Ontario, in July and complied with coronavirus safety regulations, Elizabeth Richardson, MD, Hamilton’s health worker, said in a statement to CNN. These included screening of staff and participants, tracking of participants, masking before and after classes, laundering of towels, and cleaning rooms within 30 minutes of completing a class. According to city officials, Spinco also operated at half capacity, maintaining a six-foot radius around each bike.
“We took all the measures that public health offered, even added a few, and still the pandemic struck us again,” the study 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 study, 47 are primary cases (45 patrons and two employees) and 25 are secondary cases, indicating “household spread” to family, friends, or other contacts.
Gallery: CDC now says COVID spreads these 5 ways (best life)
There has been concern about indoor training classes potentially helping coronavirus transmission, but this seems to be one of the biggest related outbreaks yet. Officials are particularly concerned because the facility closely followed health protocols. “We continue to look at what it means, what we need to understand about training courses,” said Dr. Richardson in a media briefing on Oct. 13, according to CNN.
Linsey Marr, PhD, an expert in airborne transmission and professor of engineering at Virginia Tech, noted on Twitter that the protocol did not appear to require effective ventilation in the study – an increasingly critical factor given the potential for airborne spread of viruses. “Six feet is not enough,” she wrote. “The gym did health checks, cleaning, masks before and after classes, 50% capacity and 6 ‘around each bike. NOTHING ABOUT VENTILATION.”
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), a public health spokesman said the magnitude of the outbreak, despite compliance with the protocol, “is likely to contribute to a change in guidelines and practices going forward.”