New Hampshire investigates coronavirus outbreak possibly tied to multiday prayer event

Health officials in New Hampshire are investigating a potential outbreak of coronavirus that may be linked to a multiday prayer event hosted by a Nashua church after seven members contracted the illness.

The event was hosted by Gate City Church and was held from Sept. 19 to Sept. 28.

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“To date, seven persons with COVID-19 have been identified with connections to the church community,” a news release published Wednesday by the health department, said. “DHHS and the Nashua Division of Public Health and Community Services are investigating these illnesses further and the church has moved to hosting virtual services only.”

Anyone who attended events hosted by the church beginning on Sept. 19 may have been exposed to COVID-19 and should watch for symptoms or get tested, health officials said.

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On Oct. 5, the church posted a notice on Facebook that said it would move to a “virtual church format.”

“This note is to update you that after careful examination and prayer, we have determined it best to maintain the Virtual Church format for the next few weeks,” the notice said. “We have a few of our members test positive for COVID-19 and while we do not operate in fear, we want to take every step necessary to mitigate your exposure and to be safe.”

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As of Wednesday, New Hampshire had recorded 8,800 cases of the novel coronavirus and 448 deaths.