covid-19 cluster

Nearly 150 COVID-19 Cases Now Linked to Fitchburg Church, Officials Report

This represented a sharp uptake in cases from earlier in the week, when 28 reported positive cases led the church to close in-person services

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A church in Central Massachusetts that shut down in-person services earlier this week after a couple dozen people tested positive for COVID-19 has now been connected to nearly 150 confirmed cases, according to the local board of health.

Officials have traced the source of a rising outbreak to services held at Crossroads Community Church in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, on or around Sunday, Oct. 18.  

As of midday Monday, 28 coronavirus cases had already been linked to the church ⁠— and that number has grown significantly over the course of the week, rising to 35 Tuesday and nearly 150 by 3 p.m. Saturday.

More than two dozen cases of the novel coronavirus have shutdown in-person services at a central Massachusetts church.

Contact tracers have also pointed to ice and deck hockey as a source of more than 40 confirmed cases, the Fitchburg Board of Health reported.

Health officials expressed concern in the statement over the many asymptomatic cases found, which makes it easier for the virus to spread through the community without being detected.

Videos and photos posted to Crossroads’ public Facebook page in weeks prior didn't seem to show anyone social distancing or wearing masks.

Fitchburg has seen 1,126 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of March, and 85 residents have died, according to an update from Mayor Stephen DiNatale's Facebook page Saturday. Of that total, there are 176 confirmed active cases.

The city will be offering a mobile test site on Tuesday, Nov. 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Coggshall Park Stonehouse, Eastern Avenue, with a special call for community members connected to Crossroads Church and hockey players and staff to get tested. The site will also be open to the public with free Nasopharyngeal Swabs.

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