James North fitness studio SpinCo Hamilton made national – and even international – news in the last couple of weeks as an outbreak of COVID-19 at the studio rapidly spread from its initial 3 confirmed cases to 74 primary and secondary cases in a matter of days.
The outbreak, which is one of the largest at a fitness facility in all of Canada, occurred in spite of SpinCo following all of the existing public health and safety guidelines established by the Ontario government.
Participating in every day activities may seem harmless, but can cause widespread COVID-19 infections. PLEASE follow public health measures: keep a 2m distance from those you don't live with, wear a mask, wash your hands, and stay home if you are sick.
— City of Hamilton (@cityofhamilton) October 19, 2020
But according to local public health, the spread of COVID-19 likely resulted from other factors including the fact that aerobic exercise causes heavy and rapid breathing; an especially high-risk activity considering patrons were permitted to remove their masks while working out.
To give a sense of the outbreak’s full scope, Hamilton public health has just released a chart that lays out the ways in which COVID-19 spread as a result of the outbreak, showing its impact within the SpinCo studio itself as well as a variety of secondary locations.
The chart shows that 48 primary cases originated at SpinCo itself, including 46 patrons and two staff members. Secondary locations impacted by the outbreak include 15 households, 8 schools and childcare centres, 6 healthcare facilities, and 22 other workplaces including restaurants, gyms, or retail stores.
Notably, Radius Restaurant was recently found to be an outbreak site connected to SpinCo, with three staff cases confirmed that were the result of a SpinCo patron who also works at the restaurant and went to work after becoming infected.
The chart provides a sobering look at just how widespread and complicated an outbreak’s impact can become, and should be a reminder to Hamilton residents that staying the course on health & safety protocols is just as important as it always has been amid the pandemic.
Read more about the local status of COVID-19 on the City of Hamilton website.