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UPDATE: 3:42 p.m. Thursday, May 21, 2020 – Butte County Public Health said the most recent coronavirus case, confirmed on Thursday, May 21, is not linked to the Mother's Day gathering in Palermo.
Health officials said two positive coronavirus cases in total -- are linked to the Mother's Day gathering in Palermo. If another case comes out of the event -- the situation will be declared an outbreak in a Community Congregate setting by the California Department of Public Health.
RELATED: North State coronavirus case numbers
Public Health said two of the four new cases confirmed on Wednesday, May 20, are not linked to the gathering, one was linked to it, and another case is still unknown. At this time, they do not know yet how many people who attended the event have been tested.
Editors Note: An earlier version of this article stated that the Mother's Day gathering in Palermo included 180 people. Butte County Public Health said they have learned the gathering actually had 160 people. Edits have been made above to reflect the correct number.
UPDATE: 12:46 p.m. Monday, May 18, 2020 - Pastor Mike Jacobsen of Palermo Bible Family Church said Sunday during a virtual church service on Facebook that the infected person had no symptoms when they attended the service.
The pastor said he did not intend to put the church in harm's way and that the person who tested positive, did not come to the service meaning to infect those who also attended. Read More
BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. – Butte County Public Health officials said a COVID-19 contact tracing and investigation is underway in response to a local, in-person religious service held on Mother’s Day where a person with confirmed COVID-19 attended.
The infected person tested positive for coronavirus Wednesday after the service and is currently in home isolation.
The service had over 180 people in attendance. People who attended have been notified of their exposure and asked by Butte County Public Health to self-quarantine.
Health officials said they’re working to establish testing for all individuals who attended the service on Mother’s Day.
“At this time, organizations that hold in-person services or gatherings are putting the health and safety of their congregations, the general public and our local ability to open up at great risk,” stated Danette York, Director of Butte County Public Health. “We all need to do our part to follow the orders and mitigation efforts so that our Reopen Butte County plan can continue to move forward. Moving too quickly through the reopening process can cause a major setback and could require us to revert back to more restrictive measures. We implore everyone to follow the State order and our reopening plan to help combat the potential spread of COVID-19.”
Gatherings of any size have been disallowed by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order since March 19. Butte County’s stage 2 reopening plan does not provide authority to allow gatherings. Those may be considered as the county moves to stage 3 in the future.
Despite the Governor’s order, the organization chose to open its doors, which resulted in exposing the entire congregation to COVID-19.
Health officials said Friday, this decision comes at a cost of many hours and a financial burden to respond effectively to slow or stop the spread of COVID-19. Such decisions can place great risk on the County’s ability to continue opening at a faster rate than the State.
If the Governor’s order is not followed, these types of decisions may jeopardize BCPH’s ability to respond adequately to prevent the spread of COVID-19, health officials said Friday.
Editors Note: Butte County Public Health previously stated the person was tested for coronavirus the day after the Mother's Day church service. However, BCPH said the person was actually tested positive on Wednesday, after the church service.