At least 12 deaths, 213 coronavirus cases now linked to Charlotte church event

Updated: Nov. 10, 2020 at 4:56 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Health officials say there have been at least 12 deaths and 213 virus cases linked to a weeklong convocation event at the United House of Prayer for All People last month.

Three additional virus deaths were announced Thursday, bringing the total deaths linked to the church event to 12.

“Public Health has attempted to contact at least 294 close contacts of confirmed cases – all of which have completed monitoring connected with this exposure,” health leaders said Thursday.

There have been 203 cases from Mecklenburg County residents, as well as cases from Iredell, Gaston and Cabarrus counties.

The convocation event took place from Oct. 4-11 at The United House of Prayer for All People on Beatties Ford Road. After the event, health officials reported an outbreak that has continued to increase.

Ten of the deaths involved Mecklenburg County residents and two of the deaths involved Gaston County residents.

Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris has said there could be many more positive coronavirus cases linked to the event, but people may have just got gotten tested or they are from out of the area.

Harris said at a press conference last week that, at this point, health officials are finding out that most of the cases are secondary transmission, meaning it is being spread to those who didn’t even attend the events at the United House of Prayer for All People.

“Most of our cases are secondary transmission at this point,” Harris said, meaning those becoming infected now were not infected at the initial gathering.

Harris says county health leaders have visited all United House of Prayer locations in the county to review protocols and COVID response, and to provide specific guidance on capacity and increased safety measures.

The church event had guests from all across the state, region and country,

Health officials say they have 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.

The convocation events were attended by people from California, District of Columbia, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and South Carolina.

A coronavirus cluster at Madison Saints Paradise South Senior Living is also linked to the convocation event.

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.

Health officials urge anyone who attended events or who has been in contact with someone who attended events at the church to get tested immediately.

Mecklenburg health officials issued an abatement order against a church prohibiting gatherings for two weeks for the church.

The United House of Prayer for All People on Beatties Ford Road had a week-long revival planned to begin on Oct. 25 and hadn’t committed to canceling the event, County Manager Dena Diorio said during a Saturday morning press conference.

Officials barred the church from holding in-person gatherings at its Mecklenburg County properties until at least Nov. 6.

“We believe the risk to our community is grave and reaches into any number of settings,” Harris said previously.

This is considered the single biggest outbreak in Mecklenburg County.

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