EUREKA, Calif. (AP) — Humboldt County in rural Northern California is seeing a spike in COVID-19 infections that health officials say is linked to superspreader events, including one linked to a Pentecostal church.
COVID-19 infections in the county, known for its beautiful landscapes and booming marijuana fields, had been declining for weeks but last week officials recorded 130 cases. In comparison, the county recorded 45 cases in the week of April 5.
As of Friday, the county had reported a total of 3,717 coronavirus infections since the pandemic began.
An outbreak at Eureka The Pentecostal Church led health officials to send a team to set up a coronavirus testing site at the church’s parking lot. Health authorities said church officials and members have been collaborating to try to stop the spread.
“We’re grateful for all they’re doing to protect each other and the community as a whole,” said Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman.
In a statement posted on its website, the church said some of its members had tested positive for COVID-19 but added that officials don't know if they were infected at a church service or at another gathering.
“We had gone over an entire year with no outbreak at the church, but despite our best efforts, the virus was introduced to our congregation,” the statement said. It said the church shut down all church functions and has encouraged members to get tested.
Humboldt County officials also said they have declined 1,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine for next week after seeing a low turnout at vaccination clinics.