16 COVID-19 cases linked to Chatham-Kent church community outbreak

·2 min read

COVID-19 cases in Chatham-Kent continue to climb as the region reports 16 active cases tied to a community outbreak.

Chatham-Kent Public Health has one community outbreak listed on its website: a place of worship.

The health unit would not specifically confirm that the cases are from the Word of Life Church in Blenheim, for privacy reasons, but on Oct. 22, the church pastor posted on the organization's Facebook page that one family had tested positive and that he would be closing the church for 14 days.

In the post, pastor Tim Joyce said, "Unfortunately one of our church families has tested positive for the coronavirus. Since I had close contact with one of the members I have been contacted by the health board to self isolate for 14 days. I have not tested positive for the virus."

CBC News reached out to the church, though it declined to comment.

In an emailed statement, public health said "we have isolated the congregation and tested its members, whom are co-operative. We understand the place of worship on their own accord closed its doors for two weeks, but if public health feels it needs to remain closed for longer, we can keep it closed."

Probable case reported in Lambton-Kent secondary school

Chatham-Kent Public Health is also contacting students and staff at a secondary school in the Lambton-Kent District School Board.

There is one probable case at the school. The health unit hasn't named the school, but says it remains open.

The Lambton-Kent District School Board's COVID-19 Advisory webpage lists two schools with confirmed cases: Tecumseh Public School and Northern Collegiate Institute & Vocational School.

These cases follow an exposure that occurred at a Canadian Blood Services event at Chatham-Kent's YMCA on Sunday. Public Health said they have contacted about 150 people who were there after an attendee tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Those contacted were told to self-isolate and get tested.

As of Tuesday, Chatham-Kent is reporting 401 total COVID-19 cases. Of the 27 active cases, three people are in hospital.