The total number of coronavirus cases associated with Fitchburg’s Crossroads Community Church in central Massachusetts will be nearly 150 on Saturday, according to the Fitchburg Department of Health.
The total number of infections associated with church services held in the church around October 18 has increased from 28 last Monday.
Pictures and videos posted on the church’s Facebook page on October 18 and 19 showed several people without masks, including a pastor speaking at a service and members of the church music group recorded singing. Some churchgoers were also photographed without face masks during a baptismal event.
According to the city’s health department, which also confirmed that 40 other infections are due to local ice hockey events, many of the recent infections are believed to have been asymptomatic.
The city will host a free COVID 19 testing site at Coggshall Park on Eastern Avenue this Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. local time as part of its ongoing outreach efforts.
Personal services have been cancelled at Crossroads Community Church.
“Due to the increase and rapid acceleration of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, we will take additional precautions to ensure that you and your family remain healthy and safe. If you are not feeling well or have flu-like symptoms, please stay home and/or get tested. Please note that we will be canceling this Sunday, October 25, in face-to-face meetings to make improvements to our facilities,” says a Church Facebook post from October 21.
Washington Newsday has asked the Church for comments.
The total number of confirmed cases in Massachusetts rose to over 159,700 on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University (JHU).
The seven-day moving average of daily new cases in the state has risen sharply since early September. The number declined sharply from mid-April, when it peaked at 2,307, and flattened out from mid-June to early September, according to the JHU.
Other recent church COVID 19 outbreaks
Last month, at least 82 cases in North Carolina were related to convocation events of the United House of Prayer for All People in Charlotte.
Three deaths, five hospitalizations and an accumulation of cases among eight residents of Madison Saints Paradise South, a senior housing community in Charlotte, were related to church events held October 4-11. According to district officials, at least 1,000 people are reported to have attended the events.
Also last month, about 60 new cases of coronavirus were linked to a Brooks Pentecostal church event in Maine. The meeting was also attended by members of neighboring churches and a Bible school.
Between 100 and 150 people attended the event, where masks were available but not “routinely used,” as Dr. Nirav Shah of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention commented at an informational event in October.
The broader picture
The novel coronavirus has infected more than 46.6 million people around the world, including more than 9.2 million in the United States, since it was first reported in Wuhan, China.
Worldwide, more than 1.2 million people have died as a result of the infection, while according to the JHU, more than 31.1 million are reported to have recovered by Monday.
The chart below, prepared by Statista, illustrates the prevalence of COVID-19 cases in the USA.