15 COVID-19 cases identified in new Lethbridge church outbreak as numbers rise

New Life Pentacostal Church (Gospel Fire Evangelical) is the location of Lethbridge's newest COVID-19 outbreak. Google Street View

The list of COVID-19 outbreaks in Lethbridge grew by one on Friday, with the addition of another church.

According to Alberta Health, New Life Pentecostal (Gospel Fire Evangelical) had 15 active cases, becoming the third church in the area to have an outbreak.

James Phanuel, lead pastor at Gospel Fire, says the first positive case was identified on October 10th, and they made the decision to close the next day.

He says some of the members of the church who tested positive haven’t been to a service in months, meaning he believes they contracted it elsewhere.

Read more: 2 seniors’ homes added to Lethbridge-area COVID-19 outbreak list

“There could not be any possibility that all those 15 people caught it here,” he told Global News during a phone interview. “I’m not denying that there have been probably been people that have contracted it here.”

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Phanuel adds they church suspended all events due to COVID-19 prior to the outbreak, only holding their regular prayer.

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Previously, two churches just outside of Lethbridge had COVID-19 outbreaks. On Oct. 7, Lethbridge Coalhurst Good News Centre was confirmed as an outbreak, with all 45 cases now recovered.

Just over a week later, ROC Christian Ministries in Coaldale, Alta. discovered its first positive case, which rose to 18. Nine are still active.

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Cases at Lethbridge Family Services (6 cases) and Extendicare Fairmont Park (2 cases) have all recovered.

There are now six active outbreaks in the Lethbridge Area:

  • Edith Cavell Care Centre, Lethbridge: 8 cases (all active)
  • Columbia Assisted Living, Lethbridge: 2 cases (both active)
  • Cavendish, Lethbridge: 19 cases (12 active, 7 recovered)
  • Children’s House Child Care Society, Lethbridge: 21 cases (2 active, 19 recovered)
  • New Life Pentacostal Church (Gospel Fire Evangelical), Lethbridge: 15 cases (all active)
  • ROC Christian Ministries, Coaldale: 18 cases (9 active, 9 recovered)

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Schools are considered outbreaks when two to four cases are discovered. In Lethbridge, four schools are currently listed as outbreaks, including École St. Mary School, St. Francis Junior High School, St. Theresa of Calcutta, School, and École La Vérendrye.

For the third day in a row, the case count in Alberta has risen by more than 400. A total of 432 cases were identified on Friday, bringing the provincial total 3,651.

In Lethbridge, 25 new cases bring the total number of active cases to 161.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw will be providing her next live update on Monday.

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