Dance workout classes may have outsized COVID-19 risk | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

CDC warning about fitness classes as Kentucky and Indiana gyms reopen

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has traced a COVID-19 outbreak in South Korea to dance workout classes.

With gyms set to reopen Monday in Indiana and June 1 in Kentucky, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is highlighting a unique COVID-19 risk in dance workout classes.

A 112-person outbreak of COVID-19 in Cheonan, South Korea, has been traced back to fitness dance classes held in mid-February.

“Large class sizes, small spaces and intensity of the workouts” may have contributed to the spread from instructors to students, the CDC said. “The moist, warm atmosphere in a sports facility coupled with turbulent air flow generated by intense physical exercise can cause more dense transmission of isolated droplets.”

Infections were traced back to classes of more than five students in a room of about 700 square feet. No infections were traced to classes of fewer than five students in a similar-sized room.

An infected instructor also taught Pilates and yoga classes at the same facility without any students later testing positive.

The authors of the report suspect the lower intensity of Pilates and yoga, compared with dance workouts, limited the risk of spread.

“Because of the increased possibility of infection through droplets, vigorous exercise in closely confined spaces should be avoided during the current outbreak, as should public gatherings, even in small groups,” the CDC report said.

Indiana gyms and fitness centers are cleared to reopen on May 24 with restrictions. Class sizes must be limited, and equipment must be spaced to accommodate social distancing. Equipment must be cleaned after each use, and employees are required to wear face coverings.

Kentucky is set to start reopening fitness centers on June 1 with requirements that include individuals wearing masks, staying six feet apart and limiting face-to-face interaction. Employers are required to conduct health checks on employees to ensure they do not have COVID-19 symptoms.


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