Almost 100 people caught COVID-19 after one infected man went to church in Ohio causing the virus to ‘spread like wildfire’, according to the state’s governor.
Gov. Mike DeWine said in a press briefing Tuesday that the worshiper attended a service at an undisclosed church in mid-June, triggering community spread to 91 others across five counties in the state.
‘It spread like wildfire, wildfire. Very, very scary,’ DeWine said.
‘We know that our faith-based leaders want nothing more than to protect those who come to worship.’
This comes as the state grapples to bring the pandemic under control, with infections surging to almost 100,000 and more than 3,500 Ohioans so far killed by the virus.
Almost 100 people caught COVID-19 after one infected man went to church in Ohio causing the virus to ‘spread like wildfire’, Gov. Mike DeWine said in a press briefing Tuesday (pictured)
The community spread of coronavirus among the churchgoers can be traced back to one 56-year-old man who attended a service in an Ohio county on June 14, DeWine said.
The man infected 53 people at the church and 18 of those then spread the virus further onto at least one other person.
A graphic released by the state health department illustrated how the single man acted as a ‘super-spreader’ sparking 53 confirmed primary cases, 33 secondary cases and five third-level cases.
By July 4, at least 91 people had tested positive for the virus as a result, ranging from a one-year-old baby girl to a 67-year-old woman.
The worshiper’s wife and two children were among those infected.
The severity of conditions of the 91 infected was not disclosed by the state.
DeWine urged people attending church and worship services to follow coronavirus safety precautions and wear masks.
A graphic released by the state health department illustrated how the single man acted as a ‘super-spreader’ sparking 53 confirmed primary cases, 33 secondary cases and five third-level cases
‘Our religious faiths are at the core of our great state and country. We thank our faith-based leaders all they do to serve God and His people,’ he tweeted.
‘However, it is vital that to control the spread of the virus that any time people gather together, including for religious services, that everyone wear masks, practice social distancing, wash hands, and also while indoors, making sure there is good ventilation and airflow.’
The governor is sending a letter to churches, synagogues, mosques and members of the faith community to provide guidance on ways to better protect worshipers.
DeWine also warned that several other clusters of cases in the state can be traced back to ‘informal gatherings’ such as parties and weddings.
In one outbreak at a wedding, the groom’s brother was showing COVID-19 symptoms but still attended the day.
DeWine urged people attending church and worship services to follow coronavirus safety precautions and wear masks. He issued a statewide mask mandate last month
The man then infected 15 people including the bride, groom and grandfather.
Another case involved a man who unintentionally spread the virus to at least eight family members when he assumed he had bronchitis and welcomed them into the home he shared with his dying father.
The man’s father was in hospice care at home and the family members visited him the days leading up to his death.
The son had a cough but put it down to bronchitis, before unwittingly passing coronavirus onto five family members including a great-nephew.
The virus spread further to another person when a party was held at the great-nephew’s house.
At least two others including a child have also tested positive for the virus and 17 other contacts are being monitored for illness.
DeWine also gave the example of an individual who infected at least six and impacted six households when they tested positive for the virus and attended a bridal shower.
DeWine warned residents that though ‘it’s easier to be scared of a stranger than a friend’ the virus is ‘lurking’ in communities.
‘We all have to remember that just because it is your family or your friends, they could still be carrying the virus and not know it,’ he tweeted.
‘None of us want to stay away from our families and of course, it’s natural to want to show affection when you see them. But this virus (is) lurking.’
The state is grappling to bring the pandemic under control, with infections surging to almost 100,000 and more than 3,500 Ohioans so far killed by the virus
Cases continue to surge in the state, with 96,305 people testing positive for the deadly virus.
A total of 3,596 people have died and hospitalizations stand at 11,231.
White House health advisor Dr. Fauci last week warned that Ohio was among several states headed for a potential surge of positive cases and those ‘that are not yet in trouble will likely get into trouble.’
‘It’s very important to get ahead of the curve because what we’re seeing now is what actually took place a couple of weeks ago, and what we’re going to see a couple of weeks from now is what we’re doing now,’ he warned.
DeWine finally bowed to pressure and issued a statewide mask mandate for people aged 10 and older back on July 22.
This was extended Wednesday to include children in schools.