A church in Charlotte, North Carolina is now responsible for a massive COVID outbreak — the largest so far in Mecklenburg County — because of course it is.
The United House of Prayer for All People hosted a “convocation” event earlier this month over multiple days, bringing together hundreds of people (possibly over a thousand) in one place for a sustained period of time. While masks were worn by attendees, masks alone aren’t enough to prevent the spread of the virus. It’s like wearing a seat belt but still driving recklessly.
Now, three people have died (so far) and the positive tests keep rising.
The caseload has grown significantly — jumping to 68 cases now — since county health officials first announced the outbreak late Saturday. That was nearly a week after the multi-day event that wrapped up Oct. 11 at the United House of Prayer for All People on Beatties Ford Road.
That report from the Charlotte Observer on Wednesday is already outdated. As of yesterday, Mecklenburg County Public Health officials put the number of COVID positive cases at 82.
This was all preventable. We all know the risks associated with large public gatherings but church leaders held the event anyway. The Daily Beast also notes that the county has tried to help, but they haven’t been given that opportunity.
Eight of the church-affiliated cases and at least one of the deaths were in residents of a retirement and long-term care facility in Charlotte, where now all residents have been tested, [Mecklenburg County’s Deputy Health Director Raynard] Washington said during Wednesday’s press conference. Authorities have so far attempted to contact at least 131 close contacts of the confirmed cases, in addition to the health departments in other states. Of all the confirmed cases, five patients have been hospitalized, Washington said.
Washington explained that the county, too, offered to provide testing at the church itself, but that leaders declined to host a testing site on their property.
“They have not been interested,” Washington said.
How many people will ultimately suffer because many Christian leaders decided worshiping in person was more important than protecting the health of their congregation and community?
(Screenshot via Google Maps)