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15 COVID-19 cases linked to Edmonton church outbreak ‘despite precautions’

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Alberta’s top doctor says 2 new outbreaks after religious gathering, church service' Coronavirus: Alberta’s top doctor says 2 new outbreaks after religious gathering, church service
Alberta's chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported on Tuesday that there were two recent events that resulted in two separate outbreaks. The first was the "It Is Time Canada" religious gathering in Deadwood, Alta. which saw 200-300 people attend over the August long weekend and resulted in 15 cases in Alberta and 17 in B.C. and likely more cases will be identified. The second outbreak was related to a service at the Bible Pentecostal Church in Edmonton where 15 people tested positive despite precautions being taken, Hinshaw said – Aug 18, 2020

A north Edmonton church has been added to the provincial outbreak list after 15 COVID-19 cases have been linked to parishioners who attended services in late July and early August.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said Tuesday that the outbreak occurred even though the church followed public health guidelines.

“Despite precautions being taken during in-person services, there are now 15 confirmed cases linked to the Bible Pentecostal Church in Edmonton,” Hinshaw said.

“The church has about 150 members. Anyone who attended the Church between July 26 and Aug. 12, or who is a close contact of someone who attended, likewise should book a COVID-19 test online and continue to monitor for symptoms.”

The Bible Pentecostal Church is located at 13054 112 Street, and on the weekend had signage up stating it would be closed until Aug. 26.

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Under provincial guidelines, places of worship are permitted to operate with reduced attendance and indoor events can accommodate up to 50 people or one-third of the building capacity; whichever is less.

Social distancing between families and floor markings to keep people six feet apart is also included in the provincial guidelines.

Read more: Alberta’s relaunch sees restrictions eased on places of worship: ‘Such a blessing’

Hinshaw said Tuesday that this particular outbreak showcases the risk that comes with larger gatherings.

“It is a stark reminder that coming together in large gatherings risks sharing more than fellowship. It risks sharing the COVID-19 virus.”

Albertans who believe they may have come into contact with someone connected to this outbreak or others can sign up for a test online.

“We need to take this as a reminder that all of us have to follow all measures tenaciously,” Hinshaw said. “Even if we are tired of washing our hands, wearing a mask and not being able to hug the people we care about — we must all keep following public health advice if we are to continue to flatten the curve and protect our friends, families, neighbours and communities.”

The province recorded 89 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total of Albertans who have contracted the virus to 12,419. Currently, 1,169 cases are active, and 225 people have died.

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