Outbreak tied to COVID-19 cases at SPINCO 'unfortunate': Hamilton's medical officer of health

Hamilton’s medical officer of health is characterizing a COVID-19 outbreak at a downtown gym as an “unfortunate case.”

An investigation has determined that SPINCO’s Downtown Hamilton location, which has been connected to 61 coronavirus cases, was following public health guidelines, according to Dr. Elizabeth Richardson.

In the city’s emergency operations centre update on Tuesday, Richardson said a review determined the outlet had been operating at 50 per cent capacity in keeping with provincial guidelines amid the pandemic which included customer screening, sanitation, and a two-metre radius around each bike.

“When we talked to them about what they were doing beforehand they had removed 50 percent of the bikes so that people were further apart, they had made sure they were laundering towels. They had done all sorts of things to try and reduce the potential for spread,” Richardson said.

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The city’s MOH says gyms are simply high-risk places since people generally don’t wear masks, breathe at a higher rate during physical activity, and tend to be boisterous due to loud music.

Richardson says public health is not sure how many people have been potentially affected by the outbreak but said it appears to be about 100 or so.

There were several particular classes that happened over a few day period that we were looking at as might have been the classes where people may have become infected,” Richardson said.

“There’ve been 17 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.”

On the weekend, the owners of the studio admitted to being “hesitant” to open when they got a green light from the province in July to open.

“We took all the measures public health offered, even added a few, and still the pandemic struck us again!” the gym said in a post on Instagram.

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.

“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,” the gym said.

During his regular COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday, premier Doug Ford was non-committal in regards to tightening restrictions on gyms in light of the SPINCO outbreak.

“Well, right now I’ll take the direction from Dr. Williams and see what the health team and the chief medical officer of the Hamilton region have to say,” Ford said. “Then we’ll make a decision from there.”

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Hamilton reports 12 new COVID-19 cases

Hamilton public health reported 12 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, pushing the city’s total number of confirmed cases since the pandemic began to 1,407.

Officials say 42.1 per cent (91) of the city’s 216 new coronavirus cases in the last 10 days have been among people under the age of 30.

Hamilton has 195 active cases as of Oct. 13.

The city has only three outbreaks with 44 cases recorded at downtown gym SPINCO, which has seen the virus spread among 42 people with ties to the gym’s customers and cases in two staff members.

There are also outbreaks at Salvation Army Lawson Ministries on Main Street East and Dundurn Place Care Centre in Downtown.

Halton Region reports 30 new COVID-19 cases

Public Health Halton reported 30 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, with Burlington reporting 13 new cases and Oakville reporting 11.

The region has had 1,640 cases since the pandemic began. Public health says there are 212 active cases as of Oct. 13. Burlington has 95 active cases and a total of 425 coronavirus cases since March.

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The region has a total of four outbreaks at two long-term care homes (Creek Way Village and Cama Woodlands in Burlington) and two retirement homes (Chartwell Waterford in Oakville and Village of Tansley Woods in Burlington).

The outbreak at Tansley Woods has 22 total cases in 14 residents, six staff members and 2 other people connected to the home. Two people have died in the latest outbreak at the home.

Public Health Halton says 48.7 per cent (151) of its 310 cases in the last 10 days were among residents under the age of 39. Burlington accounts for 136 of those cases with 52 (38.2 per cent) under the age of 39.

Niagara Region reports one new COVID-19 case

Niagara public health reported one COVID-19 case on Tuesday, bringing the region’s total number of cases to 1,214 since the pandemic began.

There are currently 99 active cases as of Oct. 13.

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The region has five outbreaks connected to the coronavirus, which includes four retirement homes (Pioneer Elder Care in St. Catharines, Shalom Gardens in Grimsby, and The Meadows of Dorchester and Lundy Manor in Niagara Falls) and one nursing home (Millennium Trail Manor in Niagara Falls).

Since the pandemic was declared, 42.2 per cent (512) of the region’s 1,214 cases have occurred in people under the age of 39.

Haldimand-Norfolk reports two new COVID-19 cases

The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) reported two new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. The region has an overall total of 500 lab-confirmed positive cases.

Officials say there are eight active cases as of Oct. 13.

Public health says 33.4 per cent (167) of all cases in the region involve people between the ages of 20 and 39.

The HNHU announced a new outbreak on the weekend tied to two staff members at the Caressant Care long term care home in Courtland.

Brant County reports one new COVID-19 case

Brant County’s health unit reported one new COVID-19 case on Tuesday. The region has a total of 206 confirmed cases since the pandemic began.

There are nine active cases as of Oct. 13.

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Public health says 36.89 per cent (76) of all cases in the county involve people between the ages of 20 and 39.

The region has no institutional outbreaks at long-term care or retirement homes.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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