Calgary

57 cases of COVID-19 linked to outbreak at Calgary church

Dozens of cases of COVID-19 are linked to an outbreak at Kidanemehret Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church in northeast Calgary.

Anyone who has attended the church in past 2 weeks should get tested, says Dr. Deena Hinshaw

Dozens of COVID-19 cases are linked to an outbreak at a church in northeast Calgary. Anyone who has attended the church in the past two weeks should get tested. (Google Maps)

At least 57 cases of COVID-19 are linked to an outbreak at a Calgary church.

The cases are tied to the Kidanemehret Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church in northeast Calgary, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw. said Monday.

Anyone who has attended the church in the past two weeks should get tested, she said, and any children who attended the church should not go to school this week. 

The outbreak was identified only in the past several days. Hinshaw said public health teams are still working on contact tracing to determine its full scope and how the virus has spread. 

The cases were part of 426 reported over the weekend, bringing the total active cases in Alberta to 1,370. 

"We know from a few of the outbreaks that we've seen in the last several weeks that sometimes it's possible, again, for the wrong person to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and unfortunately spread can happen when you have that confluence of an individual who is infectious who may not know that they are," she said.

"And perhaps, again, there's either a lapse, or, again, we're looking very closely at the last few outbreaks to understand, does our guidance need to be updated?"

Last week, Hinshaw had said the majority of new cases were linked to social gatherings, ranging from formal events such as worship services to family get-togethers. 

There are two other ongoing outbreaks, each with dozens of cases, linked to religious gatherings in the province: one in Deadwood, Alta., and one at the Bible Pentecostal Church in Edmonton.

"It is critical, as always, that members of this church be supported and not targeted or stigmatized. An outbreak can occur anywhere, and those involved need our compassion in this difficult time," Hinshaw said. 

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