New COVID cluster traced to Christmas services at church in Massachusetts

Dozens of positive coronavirus cases have been traced to Christmas services at a church in Massachusetts, authorities said.

The Woburn Board of Health worked with the state to educate people who attended one of the four services Dec. 23-24 at Genesis Community Church in Woburn, Mayor Scott Galvin told the Boston Globe.

The church is cooperating with the authorities, the mayor said.

At least 44 cases have been attributed to the church, authorities said.

In a statement, Genesis said it is encouraging everyone who attended services to get tested, whether symptomatic or not, and is helping those who need to quarantine to prevent further transmission. Services are now available online.

“We are deeply saddened to learn that people within Genesis have tested positive for COVID-19 and we are doing everything we can to ensure that this does not spread further,” the statement said.

According to state guidelines, places of worship are limited to 25% of their capacity. The church said it had taken the necessary precautions, including pre-registering to attend and requiring masks and social distancing.

The number of newly confirmed coronavirus deaths rose by 60 on Monday, while the number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases rose by more than 4,300.

The new deaths brought the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the state to 12,401 and the number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic to more than 375,000.

The actual number of cases is likely higher, as studies suggest that some people may be infected and not feel sick.

There were more than 2,300 people hospitalized on Monday due to confirmed cases of COVID-19, including more than 420 in intensive care units.

The average age of those hospitalized was 73 years old.

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