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He said he did not intend to impose more restrictions on places of worship.
“I’m not looking at more regulations right now, but we are looking at what the risk factors are associated with this pretty big and heavy outbreak that we’ve had,” he said. “There are a lot of churches in Chatham-Kent and places of worship of other denominations that have not been associated with any epidemic. If I start to see a pattern of risk and transmission, I will definitely move.
“But it seems to be, at least for now, based on what we know, sort of a peculiar situation.
Chatham-Kent councilors voted last month against a motion to exempt people attending church services from a rule requiring masks to be worn indoors. Coun. Michael Bondy, who introduced the motion, said masks should not be required as long as worshipers are physically away from each other.
But a majority of councilors voted against the motion after a senior city official said some cases of COVID-19 in the community were linked to church services.
Chatham-Kent also has two active cases in a joint life outbreak linked to the church outbreak. The two cases remain in the residence, but they have been isolated.
“We have some experience with this because at the start of the pandemic we had cases in Community Living in Chatham and Wallaceburg,” Colby said.
Twelve other active cases arise from close contact with other cases. The cause is pending for two cases.
At least two of the three people hospitalized in Chatham-Kent with COVID-19 are linked to the church outbreak, Colby said.
The cumulative total of Chatham-Kent cases stands at 409 cases. There were 371 recoveries and three deaths.
Chatham-Kent had no active cases less than two weeks ago.