FITCHBURG — Twenty-eight COVID-19 cases were recently linked to Crossroads Community Church, 839 Ashby State Road, Mayor Stephen DiNatale confirmed Tuesday.
“We’ve been working with the church administration,” DiNatale said. “They’re well aware of what’s required. They need to develop a plan, and we’re doing our due diligence through the health department certainly, with director Steve Curry, with contact tracing, ensuring that people that might have been exposed get out there and get tested.”
Pastor Brian Tome did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
A post on the church’s Facebook page on Sunday morning said in-person and online services were canceled.
“The conversations with the administration at the church and the health department have been good,” the mayor added. “They’re productive. They understand what has to be done and we’ll help them to get to that point.”
Large gatherings of faith-based organizations, according to the CDC, and they should work with local health officials to determine how to implement government guidelines for modifying activities during the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent transmission of the virus.
A U.S. Centers for Disease Control report illustrates how quickly the virus can spread within a church. In rural Arkansas, the CDC reported, a pastor and his wife were symptomatic and later tested positive for COVID-19. The couple had attended church events March 6-8, and were among 35 of the church’s 92 members who contracted the virus. Three people died.