Fifteen people have tested positive for COVID-19 in an outbreak associated with a Searsmont church, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The outbreak linked to Calvary Chapel Belfast is the second that the Maine CDC is investigating in Waldo County this week. The county has been a hotspot for the virus in Maine in recent weeks and is now one of four counties considered to be seeing high transmission by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The increasing number of cases has meant that some local businesses are once again requesting that customers wear masks indoors. As well, the volunteer organizers of a popular outdoor weekly music event, Belfast Summer Nights, decided this week to suspend the remainder of the concert series because of the county’s COVID-19 spike.
The week’s other outbreak was detected at Waldo County General Hospital, which on Monday included five people who tested positive, according to the Maine CDC.
Hospital officials said that they believe the cases are an indication of community spread in Waldo County, and that internal contact tracing to date indicates that the employee cases do not share a common link and there was no known transmission between patients and staff.
A message to the church, which is located in Searsmont, wasn’t immediately answered Friday afternoon. Its Facebook page said on Aug. 4 that services would be livestreamed that week because of “the rapid spread of sickness in our community.”
But a Friday post indicated there would be in-person services this Sunday, though anyone with symptoms of sickness was asked to stay home until they felt better.