An outbreak of 17 COVID-19 cases has been identified at a church in Brooks by state health officials.
People who spent any time at Brooks Pentecostal Church or its affiliated Lighthouse Christian Academy school since Oct. 2 should monitor themselves for symptoms of the coronavirus, officials with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Saturday.
Officials also warned that anyone who attended a “fellowship rally” that the congregation hosted between Oct. 2 and Oct. 4 could have been exposed to the virus.
The church livestreamed its Oct. 4 services on its Facebook page, during which a visiting pastor from Oklahoma led morning and evening services. Parishioners were sitting close to one another in the pews and not wearing facemasks to inhibit potential transmission of the virus.
On Sunday, the church was quiet. The church doors were locked, the parking lot was empty and a sign taped to the door said, “Due to precautions, we will not be holding Sunday services or Wednesday evening prayer this week.”
No one has responded to phone messages left at the church on Friday and Sunday.
It is the second coronavirus outbreak at a Maine church since the pandemic arrived in Maine this past March.
Pastor Todd Bell of Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford has kept holding maskless, indoor services even after a wedding that he officiated in East Millinocket in August sparked Maine’s largest COVID-19 outbreak and some of his own parishioners were found to have the disease.
More than a half dozen Mainers have died and roughly 180 have been infected after catching COVID-19 in connection with the wedding, which also has been linked to secondary outbreaks at a rehabilitation center in Madison and the York County Jail.
Waldo County on Friday saw its highest single-day uptick in coronavirus positive cases since the pandemic began, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which reported 11 new cases there. Three cases reported on Friday and Saturday have been connected with RSU 71 schools in the Belfast area.