The CDC in Maine is investigating a church rally as a possible cause of an outbreak of coronavirus in the state. The church, Brooks Pentecostal Church in Waldo County, Maine, held a fellowship rally from October 2-4. The CDC announced that 17 members of the church have tested positive for COVID-19 since they had the rally.
On Sunday, October 18, Maine recorded 29 new cases of COVID-19.
This is the second time an outbreak of COVID-19 is believed to be linked to a church in Maine. In August, about a hundred cases of COVID-19 was linked to a wedding attended by members of the Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford, York County, in Maine. About 10 members of the congregation were infected and possibly passed it on to over a hundred people in the state.
Todd Bell, the pastor of the Sanford church, officiated a wedding ceremony and church services without a mask. Members of the church have also been seen in clusters without masks. Bell has employed the services of an attorney to defend the rights of the members of his congregation, arguing that they had rights to religious liberty.
Videos of the Brooks Pentecostal Church services on Facebook also show that the members of the congregation do away with their masks and disregard the social distance protocol. The pastor of the church, Pastor Matthew Shaw, has not made any statement regarding the development at the time of writing this report. The Maine CDC has started efforts to trace people that could have had any form of contact with the infected people.
“We hope their close contacts answer their calls, provide all necessary information that we ask for and complete the quarantine process to help stop the outbreak of COVID-19 in Maine,” the Maine CDC said in a statement on Saturday.
In total, Maine has recorded 5,939 cases of COVID-19 with a death toll of 146. About 5,145 of the recorded cases have recovered and tested negative. As of Sunday, October 18, Maine has a total of 648 active cases. The CDC has urged people who visited the Brooks Pentecostal Church or the school affiliated with the church from October 2 to check for symptoms of COVID-19. The agency also advised them to take all other COVID-19 precautions.
The University of Maine System (UMS), a body that consists of eight public universities across Maine, reported three new cases of coronavirus on Sunday to give a total of six active cases in member schools. The new cases were reported by the University of Maine at Augusta. The University now has five active cases.
Since the pandemic started, Cumberland County has recorded the highest number of cases of 2,425 cases followed by York County which recorded 1,317 cases; Androscoggin Country has recorded 832 cases; Kennebec County has recorded 289; Penobscot has recorded 273; Oxford has recorded 157; Somerset has recorded 127; Waldo has recorded 112; Sagadahoc has recorded 77; Franklin 73; Knox 59; Hancock 56; Lincoln 53; Washington 20; and Piscataquis has recorded a total of 10.