All it took was one British Columbian at a fitness class – unknowingly infected with COVID-19 – to set off an intricate web of transmissions, with 104 others to test positive for the novel coronavirus, three of whom were admitted to hospital.
According to an infographic recently released by Fraser Health, based on actual case data, that single person sparked the spread of the virus to 67 people across two group fitness studios and six school exposures.
A further 37 more people in the region also tested positive for the respiratory disease, linked to further spreading by the gym enthusiasts.
This same person was also linked through contact tracing to four infections at a correctional facility, brought in by one of the 67 transmission cases.
Roughly 260 people were required to self isolate due to coming into contact with a test-positive case, unable to attend school or work.
Fitness studios are one of the several kinds of facilities facing ongoing restrictions in the province.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that closures and restrictions are based off the data collected from test-positive cases and outbreaks, just like what happened in the fitness studio example.
“You’ll remember in the summer we were seeing a lot of transmission of cases related to people going to night clubs and some of the bars and so we worked with the industry first to put in additional safety measures and we were still seeing transmission, so we closed those facilities,” Henry explained during a news conference.
In contrast, protocols implemented in spas and hair salons to combat a concerning uptick in transmissions earlier this year – such as masks and client limits – successfully curbed much of the risk, allowing that industry to stay open.
Health officials are also monitoring where other provinces and countries are seeing hotspots. In October, a spin club was at the centre of a number of test-positive cases in Hamilton, Ont.
“What we’ve come to recognize is that indoor spaces with poor ventilation; where people are exercising and breathing heavily while someone at the front is yelling at you and the music is loud – the virus can spread really easily that way.”
It doesn’t mean the facility isn’t following the rules set out by the provincial health office but as transmission in the community increases, those activities become riskier, Henry said.
Current restrictions impacting indoor sports, social gatherings inside homes and inter-community travel are all set to expire on Dec. 7. Health officials have said that those restrictions could continue – or increase – if daily case counts don’t see a plateau or downward curb through the next few weeks.
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