5 cases of COVID-19 linked to outbreak at Kelowna church

·1 min read

Interior Health has confirmed an outbreak at Calvary Chapel, a non-denominational church in Kelowna, where five cases of COVID-19 have been identified.

The outbreak was first linked to church services on Sept. 13.

Interior Health said in a release that attendees were asked to self-isolate or self-monitor depending on which room they had been in.

Now, anyone who attended services during a second exposure event on Sept. 20 is also being told to self-isolate until Oct. 4.

Calvary Chapel holds services at Kelowna Christian School. Interior Health says there are no ongoing exposure or contact risks to the school community.

"People are understandably concerned, but they're mostly concerned about the well-being of the people who are sick ... and now, we, of course, have many people in self-isolation," said Brad MacBeth, an elder at the chapel.

He says there were fewer than 50 people at each of the gatherings where the exposures took place.

The church moved services online at the onset of the pandemic and reopened for in-person Sunday services at the end of June, with strict policies in place.

All attendees must call the church to book a service and a seat in the hall, much like going to a ticketed event, he said. They are then sent a COVID-19 screening questionnaire. On the day of the service, they must check in, provide their contact info, again answer the questionnaire and are then directed to their seats.

"We're working very closely with Interior Health … and we will be reviewing our protocols," said MacBeth.

In-person services are once again cancelled, he says, until they get the go-ahead from public health.