Chemung County releases new details in Lighthouse Baptist Church COVID-19 cluster death

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HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WETM-TV) – Officials in Chemung County say that a 76-year-old man has died after a cluster of COVID-19 cases connected to Lighthouse Baptist Church broke out.

County Executive Chris Moss tell 18 News that the person was not a member of the church, but they are related to someone who recently attended a service.

We regret to inform you that one of our citizens, an 76 year old male, has passed away as a result of a COVID-19 infection. We want to send our condolences to the individual’s family and friends.

On Tuesday 18 new cases of COVID-19 had been connected to Lighthouse Baptist Church in Horseheads, according to Chemung County Public Health Director Peter Buzzetti.

There are currently 40 Chemung County residents connected to the church who have contracted the virus. Steuben County has reported one case as of Monday afternoon and on Friday Schuyler County was at two cases connected to the church.

On Friday, the Steuben County Public Health Department reported that there were 45 total cases, but that number is believed to have gone up since then.

The investigation into the cluster began on Saturday, Sept. 6, and testing was made available last 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.

Last week Chemung County announced that 80 people may have come in contact with those infected and all 80 voluntarily quarantined.

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 · 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.

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