1 gym, 40 COVID-19 cases: Lax enforcement leads to outbreak in Quebec City

·2 min read
Several gym customers who contracted COVID-19 told Radio-Canada that health instructions were not being followed to the letter at the gym. (Victor Paré-Dechene/Radio-Canada - image credit)
Several gym customers who contracted COVID-19 told Radio-Canada that health instructions were not being followed to the letter at the gym. (Victor Paré-Dechene/Radio-Canada - image credit)

A COVID-19 outbreak at a Quebec City gym has led to more than 40 people being infected, with lax enforcement of public health rules a suspected cause.

The Quebec City region's public health agency, the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale, said Monday that it took action over the weekend at the Mega Fitness Gym 24h in the Les Rivières borough.

In a statement confirming more than 40 cases connected to the outbreak, the CIUSSS made it clear the gym had not done enough to prevent transmission of the virus.

It said that "with the presence of variants increasing in the region, this situation is all the more worrying."

The gym reopened Monday after being closed over the weekend.

A 25-year-old Université Laval student who contracted COVID-19 said he saw many people, including staff, not following public health measures.

"I can't be a police [officer] and go tell everybody, like, 'Hey, wear your mask.' I'm not responsible for that," said the student, who didn't want to be identified.

He said it was the gym's responsibility to enforce the regulations. "I pay to receive a service, to receive a training service to go there one hour, enjoy, come back."

In its statement, the CIUSSS calls on the gym's operator to protect the health of its workers, customers and the general public by ensuring that the necessary health measures and training protocols are in place. The CIUSSS warned it could close the gym if guidelines are not followed.

The agency has asked the gym's operator to contact customers who may have been exposed to the virus — those who have been there since March 14 — and encourage them to be tested.

Gyms were allowed to reopen in the Quebec City region on March 8 as part of the government's progressive relaxation of restrictions around the province. Montreal-area gyms followed on March 26.

The gym declined a request for an interview, but did say it is encouraging members to get tested.