After gyms reopen, 200 Planet Fitness members may have been exposed to COVID-19

A press release from the local health department says that nurses are trying to contact trace anyone who may have been exposed.
By Kerry Breen

More than 200 people who visited a Planet Fitness gym in Morgantown, West Virginia may have been exposed to the coronavirus after a client who visited the gym was diagnosed with the illness.

According to a press release from the Monongalia County Health Department (MCHD), the client, who was not identified, tested positive after visiting the gym. Anyone who visited the gym between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24 is being urged to quarantine for at least 14 days and watch for symptoms of the virus. Those who develop symptoms should get tested by their primary care provider.

According to the press release, 205 people were at the Planet Fitness during that window of time. Currently, MCHD public health nurses are engaging in a contact tracing process to determine how far the virus may have spread.

McCall Gosselin, Planet Fitness spokeswoman and senior vice president of communications, told TODAY that there had been no other cases reported.

"We have been working closely with, and following the recommendations of, the Monongalia County Health Department after being notified that a member in our Morgantown, West Virginia location had tested positive for COVID-19," she said. "Out of an abundance of caution, the club (was) temporarily closed for deep cleaning and we are not aware of any additional members or team members reporting symptoms at this time," she wrote in an email.

According to NBC local affiliate 12WBOY, there were still clients at the gym as of Sunday, June 28.

"It’s always been good. It always has been good," Planet Fitness member James Cottrell told 12WBOY, saying that he was aware of the incident but was confident in the gym. "They’ve always done a good job supplying the cleaners and everything else everyone needs, plus if you — it’s not really, let me say, up to the gym ownership. I would say it’s more of the patrons’ duty to keep the place clean and I think if everyone would contribute it would go a lot smoother."

The gym officially reopened on Tuesday, June 6.

"We will continue to take every necessary precaution to ensure the safety of our community, and have taken a number of steps across all of our locations, which include enhanced cleanliness and sanitization policies and procedures, extensive training for staff, physical distancing measures, reducing physical touch points in the club with touchless check-in, and more," Gosselin said.

As coronavirus cases continue to rise in West Virginia, Dr. Lee B. Smith, the MCHD executive director and county health officer, said that people who do go out in public spaces should continue to wear masks and socially distance.

“These measures have proven to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Dr. Smith said in a press release. “If we want to continue to open up businesses and avoid the need to reverse some of the steps we have taken, people must take these precautions seriously.”