Outbreak at Quebec City gym linked to 419 infections and counting; one gym client dead

A recent outbreak of COVID-19 at a Quebec City gym has been linked to 419 cases, and counting, across the region, and one client of the gym has died.

On Wednesday afternoon, a spokesperson for the Quebec City regional health board told CTV News they are aware of 195 people who were likely infected at the Méga Fitness Gym, who they then believe spread the virus to 36 establishments elsewhere, such as grocery stores and restaurants.

That number has climbed sharply throughout the day. The board said there were 29 related outbreaks just a few hours earlier.

Through contact tracing, the board is aware of at least 224 additional “secondary” potential infections, bringing the total to 419 cases likely resulting from the gym outbreak.  

“Of course, in the current epidemiological context, we will not hesitate to use all the means and levers at our disposal to counter any threat to the health and safety of the population,” said CIUSSS spokesperson Mathieu Boivin.

It also appears that a 40-year-old client of Mega Fitness has died of the virus, though it isn't clear if he caught it at the gym.

Étienne Desrochers-Jean recently contracted COVID-19 and died of it, his sister, Élodie Desrochers-Jean, told The Canadian Press.

Quebec City health authorities declined to comment on the man's death.

It's confirmed Desrochers-Jean was a client. There isn't evidence showing he caught the virus there, but the public will one day learn more, since a police report has been filed in the case.

The Quebec coroner's office has opened an inquest into the causes and circumstances surrounding the death of Desrochers-Jean after the police report, confirmed the coroner's spokesperson, Jake Lamotta Granato.

"In the case of accidental death, or if there has been negligence, etc., an investigation is then triggered," he said.

Last week, Mega-Gym owner, Daniel Marino, also confirmed that he himself has the disease, but he said that his condition is improving.

Health authorities ordered the gym to close after the outbreak last week.

Marino said that even though he questions the government's action plan, he has respected the sanitary measures from the beginning, first for the safety of his clients, but also out of obligation.

This is a developing story that will be updated. With files from The Canadian Press.


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