City buries gym link to Coronavirus

THE WA health department is refusing to say whether it has found any Coronavirus infections linked to a user of the gym at the Terry Tyzack aquatic centre who tested positive last week.

Stirling council closed the centre when it was told of the infection on Monday, but failed to mention the positive test when it sent an email alerting members about the closure that morning.

FAQ’s

A post on the city’s Facebook page at 9.45am was also coy about the infection: “For the latest up-to-date information on city facilities, events and FAQ’s, please visit our website by clicking the link below,” it read.

Buried at the bottom of the page, the third “frequently asked question” was whether there had been a case at a council facility.

It was only after clicking the drop-down “view” button that readers were alerted to the positive test.

“The City is working with Department of Health after a customer at Stirling Leisure Centres – Terry Tyzack Aquatic Centre tested positive to Coronavirus (COVID-19). The customer attended the centre at 5pm on Thursday March 19. The City has closed its leisure centres until further notice,” the answer revealed.

It did not mention that the visitor who’d tested positive had used the centre’s gym.

Jess Belladonna, who works in Swan Districts Football Club’s administration (currently closed over Coronavirus), noticed the lack of information.

“Why have all members of Terry Tyzack not been informed of the positive Covid-19 test result?” she asked in response to the council’s Facebook post.

“We received an email informing us the facilities are closed but why was there no mention of a positive test result.”

As with the Voice’s questions, the council flicked all responsibility to the WA Health Department.

“We don’t have anything to add as that would be the WA Dept of Health’s responsibility,” the council’s media department said in response to questions about why it hadn’t been more upfront about the infection.

Contact

The council said it had provided the health department with a list of gym members for contact.

A spokesperson from the health department told the Voice they would not be releasing information about any infections linked to the Terry Tyzack gym.

Citing patient confidentiality and the huge workload now facing the health department as WA’s Coronavirus infections surged past 200 on Wednesday, the spokesperson said all the department would reveal was that it was tracking people who might have had contact with the gym user.

But they would not say how many people had been contacted or whether there were any gym users who could have been exposed to the virus that they’d been unable to locate.

The spokesperson said community members would hopefully be reassured by the fact the department had a process to deal with the infection, even if they weren’t being told the results.

Dr Norman Swan, who presents The Health Report on ABC Radio National, earlier this month spoke about the dangers of gyms and Coronavirus.

“One of the high prevalence areas from the Chinese data are gyms,” Dr Swan said in his Coronacast podcast of March 11.

“There is so much sweat and wet …. dampness is a bad thing for spreading germs.

“You’ve got these big blokes out there who are pumping away and they could not give a damn about Coronavirus,” Dr Swan said before saying he hoped there were no super-spreaders in his gym, which he was still attending when the podcast was posted. All gyms across the country have been closed since Monday.

by STEVE GRANT

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