At least 47 COVID-19 cases linked to outbreak at Hamilton spin studio
A SPINCO location in Hamilton is seen in this photograph taken in 2019. (Carly Conway/CTV News Toronto)
TORONTO -- About 100 people may have been exposed to COVID-19 after attending a class at a Hamilton spin studio earlier this month, according to the city.
An outbreak was declared at SPINCO, located on James and Wilson streets, on Oct. 5 after 47 COVID-19 cases were linked to the facility, officials confirmed on Sunday.
To date, 36 members of the studio have tested positive for the disease as well as two staff members. Nine other people contracted the disease second-hand.
Jacqueline Durlov, a spokesperson for the City of Hamilton, said that about 100 members were notified of a potential exposure to the novel coronavirus. They have all been told to self-isolate, monitor for symptoms and get tested if necessary.
She said the spin studio would be considered a place where there would be “high risk for transmission” of COVID-19.
“We continue to work with SPINCO to determine the cause,” she said. “Given gyms are higher risk sites for transmission because of the aerobic activity, enclosed spaces and other features, we may not know exactly how the virus was spread.”
Durlov added that the owners of the studio have been cooperative with public health officials and that public measures were in place at the time the virus spread. Staff and members were screened upon entry, masks were worn before and after class, rooms were cleaned within 30 minutes of a session being completed and all those who attended were asked for contact information.
“Nonetheless, gyms such as SPINCO are considered higher risk sites for COVID 19 transmission. The province has made further restrictions for gyms in areas with high rates of COVID (Toronto, Ottawa, Peel) for that reasons.”
On Friday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that COVID-19 hotspots such as Toronto, Ottawa and Peel region would revert back to a modified Stage 2 of the province’s economic reopening plan. Indoor dining in those regions would be prohibited and gyms, fitness studios, cinemas and gaming facilities would be closed.
The new restrictions came into effect on Saturday and are expected to remain active for at least 28 days.
The Hamilton studio closed its doors on Oct. 5 after the outbreak was declared. In a letter sent to members, the studio said they believe a rider who thought they were not experiencing symptoms answered "no" to their screening questionnaire, passed a temperature check and attended a class.
"As a family we rely on constant communication and if we are going stay open, anyone who feels the slightest symptom, even if they think it's (for example) allergies, please let us know," they said.
The studio said that they reduced class sizes from 43 riders to 21 and all bikes were six-feet apart.
In a statement posted to social media, the studio said that it has been following all procedures set by public health officials and have been in constant contact with its members.
“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,” the studio said. “It started September 28 and spread amongst specific classes until October 5th. SPINCO Hamilton has been closed from the moment the outbreak was identified.”
“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.”
Ontario recorded another 809 cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and 649 infections on Sunday. Of those cases, at least 59 were reported by Hamilton’s public health unit.