3 deaths, at least 82 coronavirus cases linked to event held at United House of Prayer for All People church in Charlotte, NC

Mecklenburg County officials say three people have died and four people are hospitalized as at least 82 confirmed coronavirus cases are linked to an event at a Charlotte church.

This is now considered the single biggest outbreak in Mecklenburg County.

The United House of Prayer for All People on Beatties Ford Road was holding an annual gathering the weekend of Oct. 10, according to county commissioner and church member Vilma Leake. The events were held Oct. 4-11.

Included in the confirmed cases mentioned above, is a cluster of six cases at Madison Saints Paradise South Independent Living. The facility reported that all residents have been tested for COVID-19.

Public Health has attempted to contact 94 close contacts reported by the confirmed cases. If you have received a message from a contact tracer, please call the contact tracing hotline at 980-314-9401.

Public Health has also notified several local health departments in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey and New York to monitor for potential cases connected to these events.

“In that gathering people come from all over the country, maybe all over the world, to come to that festive affair,” Leake said.

Mecklenburg County Deputy Health Director Raynard Washingon stated the cluster is concerning. He also said the House of Prayer has not been interested in hosting a testing site on its property.

“To this date we have not had testing at the church, they have not been interested,” Washington said.

People who attended the two-day event at United House of Prayer For All People on Beatties Ford Road were asked to get tested for COVID-19.

Officials say if you were there, get tested. Also, if you were there and get a call, it could be a contact tracer, so answer your phone.

Leake also held up her speakerphone during the meeting as a church leader identified as Elder Murray claimed they followed local and national health guidelines even though Washington previously claimed those guidelines weren’t always followed.

“We sit and maintain distance six feet apart in our sanctuary, there are hand cleansing stations throughout the sanctuary,” Murray said.

County health leaders have also asked the church to stop holding events but Murray did not say whether they would heed that recommendation.

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