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California

Is it safe to go to the gym? L.A. officials urge coronavirus precautions

Gym
Gyms remain open, but health officials urge precautions to avoid the coronavirus.
(Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County health officials said Friday they are not recommending that people avoid gyms due to the coronavirus, but they did urge that patrons take special precautions.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the county public health director, said that while gyms have not been closed, common sense is needed to reduce the spread of the virus. She urged people not to take spinning classes and other activities where they would be less than six feet away from others.

Spinning is “not a good activity right now,” she said.

As for using gym equipment, she encouraged the following steps:

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—Wash your hands before using the equipment.

—Wipe down the equipment before using.

—Wipe down the equipment again after using.

—Wash your hands again after using the equipment.

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“if you are going to go to the gym, you need to not expose yourself and not expose others,” she said. “You need to take a lot of precautions.”

Officials said social distancing is essential to slowing the spread of the virus at this point. But maintaining a safe distance might not be possible at crowded gyms.

Others have suggested going to the gym only when there are not big crowds, while some communities have called for gyms to close.

L.A. County Public Health Department officials confirmed eight new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total to 40, as community spread intensified.

Three of those cases are likely the result of community transmission and two of the individuals are hospitalized, Ferrer said.

Officials said they expect the number of cases to expand significantly as more people get tested. Ferrer said L.A. County got more test kits this week, and noted that initial testing limitations have made estimates difficult to gather.

“Its very hard to know how many cases we have,” she said.

Ferrer also said that officials will release geographic locations and age groups of the known cases on Monday. Those who may be close contacts of individuals who test positive for the virus may start receiving “blanket quarantines,” rather than being interviewed first, Ferrer said.


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