More than three dozen coronavirus cases have been linked to a church in Maine that held a fellowship rally earlier this month.
The state’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Saturday that 17 cases were linked to Brooks Pentecostal Church in Waldo County.
By Tuesday, that number had climbed to 42, Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah said at a news briefing.
The agency said in a press release on Saturday that the church in Brooks, a town of about 1,100 people 40 miles northeast of Augusta, held a fellowship rally between Oct. 2 and Oct. 4.
Shah said that about 100 to 150 people, including members from other churches, attended the rally. Masks were available but not routinely used, he said.
The church also held in-person services where people did not regularly wear a mask.
“Based on what we know right now, we expect the number of cases associated with this outbreak to increase, perhaps significantly,” Shah said.
Out of the 42 cases, seven were confirmed at the Lighthouse Christian Academy, a school affiliated with the church. Other cases include several at four different schools in the area and one at a long-term care facility in Waldo County.
“Anyone can cause an outbreak,” Gov. Janet Mills said at the news briefing, urging residents to continue practicing safety measures.
Officials advised that anyone who attended the event or spent any time at Lighthouse Christian Academy should monitor for symptoms of Covid-19, and if they show symptoms contact a doctor.
Efforts to reach the church were not immediately successful on Tuesday morning.
Waldo County has had 124 cumulative cases of coronavirus and 14 deaths, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard. Statewide, there have been just under 6,000 cases and 146 deaths.
This isn’t the first time a coronavirus outbreak has been linked to a church in Maine. At least 10 cases have been tied to Calvary Baptist Church after its pastor officiated an indoor wedding that has been labeled as a superspreader event that caused over a hundred infections and at least eight deaths.