A COVID cluster of more than two dozen cases has shut down in-person services at Crossroads Community Church in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, until at least Nov. 8.
“We’ve met with them, they understand the importance of getting a handle on this,” Fitchburg Mayor Stephen DiNatale said Monday.
DiNatale said Board of Health nurses are actively doing contact tracing.
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“If you were at services at Crossroads, go get yourself tested,” warned the mayor.
The city’s public health director said as of mid-day Monday there were 28 COVID cases connected to the church – including, but not limited to, last Sunday’s services.
“Well it’s scary when you get a hot spot like that,” Fitchburg resident Linda Byrne said.
Videos and photos posted to Crossroads’ public Facebook page did not appear to show anyone wearing masks or distancing.
“I looked at their Facebook and it looked like at different events they had nobody had masks on, so to me it’s, 'Why aren’t you wearing your masks?'" Holly Carlisle of Fitchburg said.
“A pastor should think more of his parishioners than having them come together and be that close, it’s just crazy," added Joe Byrne, another resident.
The concern for many people now is the ripple effect throughout the community, as Fitchburg Public Schools has even delayed the start of hybrid learning by a week due to the COVID cluster.
“We’re doing the best we can to address it and make sure that we arrest any further advance of the COVID-19," DiNatale said.
At this point, it’s unclear when the church will be able to reopen and whether they will be able to resume in-person services.