Number of COVID-19 cases connected to SPINCO climbs to 50

October 13, 2020
Number of COVID-19 cases connected to SPINCO climbs to 50

At least 50 people with COVID-19 have been connected to an outbreak at SPINCO in Hamilton.

Public health officials say there were 39 primary cases, made up of 37 customers and two staff members, linked to the downtown spin studio as of Monday.

Eleven secondary “household spread” cases, such as friends, family or other contacts, which would have happened outside of the James Street North location, have also been identified.

And the city’s worst current outbreak of the virus could see more cases.

Public health previously said approximately 100 people had been identified as primary contacts who may have been exposed.

“We have currently confirmed exposure dates of Sept. 28 to Oct. 4. However, this can change if further cases are identified,” said public health spokesperson Jacqueline Durlov in an email to CBC Tuesday.

In response to an interview request Monday, the owners of Hamilton’s SPINCO location sent CBC News an email saying they were “devastated by the impact this virus is having on our community and wish all those affected a quick and full recovery.”

The email added public health has confirmed the studio and its screening process “met their expectations.”

Information on the SPINCO website details steps the company outlined to keep riders safe, including a six-foot radius around each bike, screening questions for customers and extra cleaning and sanitation.

It states masks must be worn indoors by everyone and cannot be removed until all riders are clipped into their bikes. Face coverings must be put back on before riders get off the bikes.

A sign on the front door of SPINCO describes some precautions meant to protect staff and patrons from COVID-19. Public health says at least 50 cases of the virus have been linked to the spin studio. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

“We care deeply about our community and will continue to follow the guidance of our public health authority,” the email from SPINCO read.

Asked Tuesday about the spread related to SPINCO, Premier Doug Ford referenced a “disturbing” factor that’s led to an rise in COVID-19 numbers across the province — the high number of contacts connected to each case.

“When we do contact tracing, for each person, we now see upwards of 50 to 100 contacts and then you start compounding that and multiplying it … next thing you know you’re in the thousands because those 100 people they contacted … and it gets into the tens of thousands actually,” he explained.

“That’s one of the reasons we saw an escalation”

The premier said closing fitness facilities, especially small, independently owned gyms, bothers him, but maintained he’d follow the direction of public health officials, including those in Hamilton.

“Anywhere where there’s a group of people and they’re working out, they were telling me, that’s the reason they were closing down Peel, Ottawa and Toronto, just to make sure we can get our hands around the spike,” he said.

SPINCO was just one of three ongoing outbreaks in Hamilton Monday.

An outbreak was declared on the fourth floor of the Dundurn Place Care Centre on Oct. 11 after a staff member at the nursing home tested positive.

A staff member with the assisted living branch of the Salvation Army’s Lawson Ministries also has the virus.

The city saw 41 more cases of COVID-19 Monday, for a total of 1,395 since the pandemic began.

Of those, 183 cases are active. Forty-seven people have died.

An updated case count is expected Tuesday afternoon.

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