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DOH warns of large cluster at Maui church

A large cluster of COVID-19 cases at King’s Cathedral in Kahului has doubled to 50 within the past 10 days, prompting the state Department of Health on Wednesday to warn members of the “imminent risk to public health.”

The department encouraged the church to cancel all upcoming in-person events and conduct only virtual services until the cluster is contained.

“DOH does not disclose specific cluster locations unless there is an imminent risk to public health,” acting state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble said in a news release Wednesday. “Based on the findings of our investigative team, we believe disclosure is warranted to prevent further transmission of the disease.”

People who attended events hosted by King’s Cathedral and Chapels in the past 14 days should get tested for COVID-19 and closely monitor themselves for symptoms including fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat or loss of taste or smell, the department said. If a person develops symptoms, they should self-quarantine and seek medical consultation.

DOH first identified the cluster at King’s Cathedral on March 7 and met with church representatives on March 10 to recommend containment measures including isolation, quarantine and a switch to virtual services, among other preventative measures.

However, the department later detected further transmission related to ongoing in-person services, a youth conference and other gatherings. The cluster has doubled in the past 10 days, the department said.

People who have tested positive related to the cluster range in age from 10 to 77. COVID-19 transmission has spread from the church to a school and a workplace, and DOH is concerned more “spillover” cases will threaten the greater community and not just those affiliated with King’s Cathedral.

Case counts across the state and on Maui have risen in the past week, and the department reminded people to wear masks, maintain physical distance, avoid crowds and wash hands regularly. Anyone who feels sick or believes they are coming down with a cold should not go to work or school.

The department added that anyone who feels ill, believes they may have been exposed or has attended a King’s Cathedral and Chapel function in the past two weeks can schedule a COVID-19 test by registering at www.minitmed.com/pre-register-maui-covid-19.

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