Massachusetts

More Than 200 COVID-19 Cases Linked to Fitchburg Church

The confirmed coronavirus cases have all been traced back to services and programs held on and around Sunday, Oct. 18, at Crossroads Community Church in Fitchburg.

More than 200 cases of COVID-19 have now been linked to a church in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and over 80% of them are symptomatic, health officials said Friday.

The confirmed coronavirus cases have all been traced back to services and programs held on and around Sunday, Oct. 18, at Crossroads Community Church, located at 839 Ashby State Road, according to the Fitchburg Health Department.

Health officials have also identified more than 200 contacts of confirmed coronavirus cases connected to the church as of Friday, Nov. 6.

The confirmed cases and contacts have affected over 75 businesses and 22 jurisdictions, the health department said.

Anyone associated with the church is encouraged to get tested for the virus. The Fitchburg Health Department is working to schedule additional testing sites together with jurisdictions bordering Fitchburg and municipalities associated with the cluster.

There have been 85 deaths connected to COVID-19 in Fitchburg this year.

Crossroads Church has voluntarily closed until further notice, and no reopening date has been set, the board of health said.

The Fitchburg Health Department and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Community Tracing Collaborative continue to monitor, surveil, and trace confirmed COVID-19 cases linked to the church.

In addition to asking Fitchburg residents to comply with Gov. Charlie Baker's stay-at-home advisory that went into effect Friday, the health department said it is also exploring moving backwards in Baker's phased reopening plan to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

A mandatory mask mandate went into effect Friday, as did the state's new curfew.

Fitchburg is one of 16 communities in the commonwealth considered at the highest risk for transmitting the virus, according to the state's latest weekly community-level data on the coronavirus pandemic. The town has seen 1,177 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of March, and 231 of those came in the past two weeks, data shows.

Friday, state health officials reported 2,038 new confirmed coronavirus cases, marking the highest number of new cases reported in a single day by the Massachusetts Department of Health this fall. Twenty-one new deaths were also reported. There have now been 9,880 confirmed deaths and 162,736 cases, according to DPH.