TORONTO —
Officials in Hamilton, Ont., have released new information following the spread of a COVID-19 outbreak at a downtown fitness studio.

They say 74 people have caught the virus so far from an initial exposure at the Hamilton SpinCo earlier this month.

At least 48 cases were linked to the primary exposure, including two staff members and 46 patrons. A number of those people then spread the virus to people in their bubbles.

There have been 26 secondary cases and counting.

Exposures also spread through the community: eight cases have been reported in schools and childcare centres, six in health care facilities, 15 in households and 22 in other workplaces.

The City of Hamilton has produced a graphic to show the impact of the outbreak.

“Participating in every day activities may seem harmless, but can cause widespread COVID-19 infections,” reads a tweet from the City of Hamilton’s official Twitter account. “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. Actions matter.”

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.

Actions matter. #HamOnt pic.twitter.com/jyGuy0FVfp

— City of Hamilton (@cityofhamilton) October 19, 2020

An outbreak was first declared on Oct. 5 after public health officials traced a large number of cases back to Hamilton SpinCo.

The city says that the fitness studio was complying with public health measures at the time.

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.

On Monday, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Medical Officer of Health for the City of Hamilton announced new guidelines for gyms and recreational activities, in addition to all existing provincial requirements.

As of Oct. 19, gyms must “ensure that a physical distance of at least three metres is maintained between every person involved in any exercise or physical exertion activity.” 

Fitness studios must also set a capacity limit of up to 10 people (including staff) per indoor group fitness class or training session so long as a three metre physical distance between each person can be maintained.

Face coverings are also required while in the facility, including when actively engaged in a physical activity.

As of Oct. 19, there are a total of 1,525 active COVID-19 cases in the city.

With files from The Canadian Press.





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