Thursday, September 21, 2023

Essential masks to stop COVID in gyms

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By Robin Foster

HealthDay reporter

THURSDAY February 25, 2021 (HealthDay News) – If you think it’s safe exercise without your mask in a gym during the pandemic, two new government reports show you were wrong.

Coronavirus outbreaks at aptitude The Chicago and Honolulu centers last summer were likely the result of practitioners and instructors not wearing masks, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found.

In the Chicago study, 60% of people who took in-person fitness classes at a facility between August 24 and September 1, 2020 tested positive for COVID-19, while 7% reported symptoms compatible with the disease. Although some infection prevention measures were in place, such as temperature checks and symptom screenings upon entry, practitioners were allowed to remove their masks while they were sweating and straining.

“It is very important for people who want to go to a gym and work out to know the symptoms of COVID and to know that if you experience something that looks like a symptom of COVID-19, to stay home. .as a precaution, ”said Richard Teran, a CDC Chicago epidemiologist who co-authored the Chicago case study.

“This epidemic reinforces the need for combined prevention strategies against COVID-19, including the universal use of the mask in public places when people are with other people who do not live in the same household, especially indoors ; screening of symptomatic people and those who have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2; so-isolation after symptoms appear or after a positive COVID-19 test result; and quarantining people who have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, ”the report said.

In the Honolulu study, 21 cases were linked to a fitness instructor who tested positive for COVID-19 on July 1. Two days before experiencing symptoms, the fitness instructor led a yoga class for 27 people while wearing a mask and no cases were reported. among these participants. But the same instructor was not wearing a mask as he led a cycling class for several hours before experiencing symptoms. All 10 people in the class, none of whom wore masks, then tested positive for COVID-19. Among them was a fitness instructor from another facility. He fell seriously ill and was hospitalized in an intensive care unit, according to the CDC report.

Twelve hours before this second instructor felt symptoms, he organized several small kickboxing sessions and a personal training session. Out of 11 people exposed, 10 tested positive in early July. All 10 developed symptoms of COVID-19 and one was hospitalized in the intensive care unit. On July 22, the city of Honolulu passed emergency orders requiring face masks at fitness centers, including during exercise, according to the CDC report.


“Transmission was probably facilitated by not wearing a face shield, prolonged close contact and poor room ventilation. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 occurred despite stationary cycles spaced ≥ 6 feet. Screaming from Instructor A throughout the hour-long stationary cycling course could have contributed to transmission; aerosol emissions during speech have been correlated with loudness, and outbreaks of COVID -19 related to intense physical activity and singing have already been reported, “Laura Groves, and colleagues from the Hawaii Department of Health and CDC COVID-19 Response Team, explained in her report.

Both case studies were published online Feb. 24 in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The epidemics described in the CDC studies have been caused by inconsistent use of masks and other lapses in social distancing behavior, and possibly insufficiently ventilated buildings, said Alex Larcom, senior director of advocacy. health and health policy for the International Health Racquet and Sportsclub Association. The New York Times.

“In Chicago, you had members who went to class when they were symptomatic or positive for COVID,” Larcom said. Also, this facility was not originally designed to be a fitness center and symptom screening appears to have been done poorly, she added.

“At the level of society, we rely on people who are sick or who think they are sick to withdraw from society,” Larcom told the Times. Those who went to the gym even though they had symptoms “probably also went to the grocery store, went out to eat and moved around the community.”

Since the summer, many health and fitness clubs have implemented new safety protocols and improved ventilation in their facilities, Larcom noted.

CDC researchers stressed that a multi-pronged strategy was needed in fitness facilities, including good ventilation, consistent and correct use of masks, persistent reminders that employees and customers should stay away. home when sick and more handwashing stations.

More information

Visit the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to learn more stay safe in public during the pandemic.

SOURCES: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Feb. 24, 2021, online; The New York Times

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