Blenheim church COVID-19 outbreak connected to 31 cases: CK Public Health
WINDSOR, ONT. -- A COVID-19 outbreak at a Blenheim church has been linked to 31 cases of the virus, including three people who are currently in hospital.
The Word of Life church has closed its doors for two weeks due to a COVID-19 positive case, which has since been connected to 19 initial cases and 12 close-contact transmissions.
Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit (CKPH) Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby says, “Something happened at this church that involved a large number of people initially and the more people that have this, potentially the more people that are going to catch it.”
The outbreak has also been linked to a recent exposure at a blood drive. A church patron donated blood where CKPH says a member of the clinic’s staff and a donor were infected.
Colby explains, “A member of the church who was infectious, went to donate blood and managed to infect two other people who were there, another donor and one of the people that worked at Canadian Blood Services, who then went back and then potentially exposed about 150 people at a second blood donor clinic that that employee worked.”
There are now believed to be 330 individuals self-isolating including close contacts of the primary, secondary and tertiary cases related to the outbreak. The Chatham-Kent region has just under 400 people in total isolating when considering some of the other case exposures outside of the church outbreak.
CKPH has confirmed that three of the region's hospitalizations are also linked to the church’s outbreak.
Christina Grant went to the Word of Life Church’s soup kitchen for meals on a regular basis before it closed, and says the cases do giver her pause.
“I'm on a fixed income so you know it's kind of nice you know to be able to have a warm meal…Anywhere that you hear a case of COVID you're a little bit fearful of going back but I’ll take it as it goes.”
As for when the church and soup kitchen could reopen Colby says, “Nobody will go back to the church until they are cleared by the public health unit.”