Coronavirus outbreak at Woburn church after Christmas Eve gatherings

WOBURN, Mass. — Forty-four people have tested positive for COVID-19 after attending Christmas Eve gatherings at Genesis church in Woburn, according to the church.

Located at 35 Olympia Ave., the church said it hosted two gatherings on Dec. 23 and two on Dec. 24 with cleanings in between each hour-long service.

“We are deeply saddened to learn that people within GENESIS tested positive for COVID-19 and we are doing all we can to make sure this does not spread any further,” the church said Saturday in an official statement.

“Every individual who attended Christmas Eve at GENESIS has been contacted and made aware of the situation as well as being encouraged, whether symptomatic or not, to get tested for COVID-19.”

Within 24 hours of learning that five people tested positive, the church contacted its entire community and the local board of health to make them aware, the church said.

Attendees were required to RSVP to ensure that the church met Massachusetts’ requirement of 40% occupancy. It said the average attendance of each gathering was 105 people per service, which was 35% of the building’s occupancy.

Everyone was required to wear a mask always except when someone was speaking on stage or leading a worship, the church said. Social distancing was encouraged and practiced, and hand sanitizing stations were around, it added.

“We are praying for a quick and full recovery for all those impacted by COVID-19,” the church said.

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