More than 100 coronavirus cases and 3 deaths linked to North Carolina church event

A North Carolina church’s multi-day event has led to more than 100 cases of the coronavirus and three deaths, health officials said.

The outbreak is linked to the United House of Prayer for All People in Charlotte, which held convocations from Oct. 4 to Oct. 11.

Mecklenburg County’s Deputy Health Director said that a large number of people, including many from out of state, attended the events.

“I do not have a definitive count, I can say confidently from video that we’ve seen there were at least hundreds of people,” Raynard Washington said during a briefing Tuesday. “My understanding is that there were probably more than 1,000 involved over the course of that week.”

Local health departments in South Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey and New York have been made aware of the outbreak.

The United House of Prayer for All People in Charlotte, N.C., on Oct. 23, 2020. (Google Map)
The United House of Prayer for All People in Charlotte, N.C., on Oct. 23, 2020. (Google Map)

Health officials in Mecklenburg County, where the church is located, said Friday that 99 residents have tested positive, along with two in Iredell County. Of those confirmed cases, five have been hospitalized and a dozen are at the Madison Saints Paradise South Senior Living center.

One of the three deaths was at the center, Washington said, noting that at least four residents attended the church’s convocations.

The senior center declined to comment Friday and the church could not immediately be reached.

The health department said it is in the process of reaching out to more than 137 people who had close contact with the confirmed cases.

Around the country, church events have been linked to several coronavirus outbreaks.

In Maine, more than 40 people tested positive for the virus after Brooks Pentecostal Church in Waldo County held a fellowship rally earlier this month. Maine’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Nirav Shah said that about 100 to 150 people attended the rally and masks were available, but not routinely used.

And at least 10 cases have been tied to Calvary Baptist Church, also in Maine, after its pastor officiated an indoor wedding that has since been labeled a superspreader event linked to over a hundred infections and at least eight deaths.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said one outbreak at a church in Ohio County “spread like wildfire” after a man with the virus attended a single church service leading to at least 91 infections across five counties.

“We have been very careful throughout this pandemic to exempt religious services from any regulations,” the governor said. “The only exception to that is that we are now asking people who attend church to wear a mask.”

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