A church in B.C.’s Fraser Valley has voluntarily suspended in-person worship and different occasions after dozens within the congregation grew to become in poor health with suspected COVID-19 circumstances — together with 11 who needed to be hospitalized.
A web-based publish from Clearbrook Mennonite Brethren Church in Abbotsford says as many as 40 individuals might have contracted the illness.
“Our congregation is experiencing a surge of medical concern,” the publish says. “Some have extra gentle signs and are remoted at dwelling. Others are going through severe medical challenges. Eleven of our persons are presently hospitalized with the results of COVID.”
Despite the church’s report on circumstances, the Fraser Well being Authority has not listed the situation on its public exposures web page.
“I’ve had contact with Fraser Well being by telephone,” Scott Tolhurst, a pastor on the church, advised CTV Information. “They initiated some telephone calls as they did contact tracing.”
Proper now, there are not any capability limits or restrictions in B.C. on indoor and outside worship companies.
Earlier this week, B.C. up to date its provincial well being order requiring masks use in public areas, nevertheless it didn’t embrace church buildings and different locations of worship.
In keeping with the well being order, these services are solely thought of indoor public areas underneath the order when they’re “used for secular functions.”
Even so, provincial well being officer Dr. Bonnie Henry mentioned masks use remains to be strongly inspired throughout religion companies, significantly because the province enters flu season.
“We now have seen transmission of COVID-19 in religion gatherings, and in some circumstances that has meant that these gatherings have needed to go distant,” Henry mentioned on Monday.
In keeping with Tolhurst, the church has not held an in-person service since Oct. 17 and has no plans to start gathering in particular person once more previous to Nov. 14 on the earliest.
“We weren’t mandated by Fraser Well being to take action, however I had knowledgeable them by telephone they usually affirmed our response,” he mentioned. “Those that had been sick, have remoted and can keep the isolation till they get higher.”
Tolhurst was unable to offer info on whether or not the people who find themselves sick have been vaccinated or not — however did say the church promotes immunization.
“We current vaccinations because the wisest course to soak up this pandemic,” Tolhurst mentioned. “I’m wanting ahead to my booster shot. However I’ve no details about numerically or percentage-wise what number of have or what number of haven’t.”
CTV Information has reached out to Fraser Well being for touch upon the cluster of circumstances and this text can be up to date if the well being authority responds.