45 COVID-19 cases connected to local church, school employee confirmed as a positive case

Breaking News

(UPDATE 9/11/20 @ 4:00 PM) – There are now 45 cases of COVID-19 connected to the Lighthouse Baptist Church, according to the Steuben County Public Health Department. The cluster includes residents in six counties, including Chemung, Schuyler, and Steuben.

The Steuben County case is a resident of Caton who visited the following stores:

  • 9/8/20 Morning – Dollar General in Caton
  • 9/9/20 Morning – The Vitamin Shoppe in Horseheads
  • 9/9/20 Morning – Walgreens in Elmira

Steuben County now has 337 confirmed cases, eight of which are currently active.


(UPDATE 9/10/20 @ 8:30 PM) – According to a voice message left to parents from the Horseheads Central School District, a non-instructional employee at Ridge Road Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19. District officials tell 18 News it’s connected to the Lighthouse Baptist Church cluster of cases.

The school was scheduled to have a meet and greet tomorrow but that has since been canceled due to the building being closed to visitors out of an abundance of caution.

In the meantime, only staff members will be allowed inside the school, and Ridge Road is set to reopen on Monday for the first day of classes.


HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WETM) – Chemung County Public Health Director Pete Buzzetti says that approximately 29 COVID-19 cases have been connected to the Lighthouse Baptist Church in Horseheads.

The investigation began on Saturday, Sept. 6 and testing was made available on Wednesday for those who visited the church. About 40 people were tested on Wednesday and more than half tested positive, according to Chemung County Executive Chris Moss.

Buzzetti and Moss added that 80 people may have come in contact with those infected and all 80 have voluntarily quarantined. As many as five counties may have residents who were in contact with church members. Two residents of Schuyler County have been connected to this cluster.

Officials added that several members of the church who tested positive attended a wedding in another county. It’s unknown where the cluster started, according to Buzzetti, who called the situation “pretty concerning from a community transmission standpoint.”

18 News has reached out to the church for comment but have not heard back at this time.

Anyone who attended the church for any events (services, bible study, etc.) between August 18 and September 6 should:

  • Get tested for COVID-19. Anyone who visited the church is encouraged to visit a testing site and provide current identification · https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you to find another testing location.
  • Those tested are required to quarantine for 14 days from the test date. Stay home and limit contact with others. If you must be in the same room as someone else, wear a mask and keep your distance. School age children and school staff who attended during this time period should not attend school in person.
  • Monitor yourself for COVID-19 symptoms. If you develop symptoms at any point during the 14-day period, get tested – even if you already tested negative earlier in your self-quarantine.

Churches in New York must follow the following guidelines issued by the Governor’s office:

In Phase 4 regions, no more than 33% of the maximum occupancy for a particular area for services occurring indoor; or no more than 50 people for services occurring outdoor.

“If you feel sick, even if you only feel a little sick, get tested then stay home,” Schuyler County Public Health Director Deborah Minor advised. “Taking these steps as soon as you start to feel sick limits how many people get exposed to the virus and helps keep it from spreading widely in the community.”

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