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Gyms take precautions as COVID-19 cases reach record highs worldwide

Last week, the World Health Organization recorded 9.5 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide in a seven-day period, a record high.

YORK, Pa. — For the past three decades, PA Fitness in York has been Ed Zelco's second home. He works out there multiple times a week. However, with the omicron variant causing record-high case numbers in both Pennsylvania and the nation, a gym may not feel like the safest place to spend time right now. 

Even though Zelco says he feels protected against COVID-19 after getting his first two shots and a booster, the 83-year-old said more people are flocking to his gym in an effort to achieve New Year's resolutions. To Zelco, those crowds are worrisome. 

"When the gym fills up with a lot of people, that does concern me," he said. 

The fear comes as the World Health Organization just recorded 9.5 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide in a seven-day period, a record high. That means employees at gyms like PA Fitness are cleaning much more frequently. 

"I constantly wash the doors and the handles and the water fountains to make sure [everything is clean]...we do it once an hour," said Renee Voss, a manager at PA Fitness. 

Meanwhile, at the Harrisburg YMCA, the staff is also heavily cleaning. Employees there have even taken safety a step further with bipolar ionization, a technology that promises to kill germs and deliver cleaner air.

"Bipolar ionization, that's like the top-tier clean air quality," said Rose Turner, a spokesperson for YMCA. "They have it in stadiums, they have it in airports. It's really an exciting development for us."

However, if YMCA members still feel unsafe going to the gym right now, the fitness center and its other branches have implemented more than 100 live, online classes for people at home.

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