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Northern Alberta prayer event linked to over a dozen positive COVID-19 cases in B.C.

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A faith-based event in northern Alberta has been linked to more than a dozen positive COVID-19 cases in B.C., prompting an alert to be issued to residents.

In a news release on Aug. 17, Northern Health said it has activated the health alert for northeast B.C., after confirming 17 cases of COVID-19, 10 of which remain active, following the It Is Time Canada event hosted in Deadwood, Alta., on July 30 to Aug. 2.

Officials noted 12 of the lab-confirmed cases are linked directly to the event while the remaining five are believed to have occurred through secondary exposure.

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Officials added the majority of positive cases in relation to the event have been recorded in the Fort St. John area, however, the exposure alert applies to all residents in northeast B.C.

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Northern Health said contact tracing has also identified a number of close contacts to those who attended the event and there are currently 24 people who are self-isolating and being monitored by public health officials.

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Anyone who attended the event is asked to monitor their health and to self-isolate and seek testing if symptoms related to the novel coronavirus arise.

In a statement to Global News Monday, Alberta Health confirmed the outbreak at the event earlier this month.

“We are aware of COVID-19 cases linked to ‘It Is Time Canada’ prayer gathering in Deadwood. Alberta Health Services is investigating,” the statement said.

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“We are working with B.C. Health to ensure contact tracing.”

Alberta Health stated the outbreak will be added to the province’s list when it’s next updated on Tuesday, Aug. 18.

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