Health Officials Alert Public Over Outbreak at Awaken Church

The announcement comes after the county recorded its highest number of positive COVID-19 cases Saturday, reaching 1,859

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County health leaders are alerting the public about a coronavirus outbreak at Awaken Church in Kearny Mesa.

The county said they're taking the unusual step of publicly identifying an outbreak site because contact tracers have not been able to reach everyone. 

Health officials suggest that those who attended indoor services at the church between Nov. 15 and 22 should quarantine for two weeks from the last visit to the church and get tested if possible.

"Everyone at your location should continue to take steps to prevent COVID-19. Anyone who develops any related symptoms should immediately isolate themselves and consult a medical provider," the county said in a letter sent to the church on Saturday.

County officials did not say how many cases were linked to the church. A community setting outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting and in people of different households within two weeks of their illness onsets.

NBC 7 first reported on July 16 that the church was holding indoor services against public health orders. The county sent compliance officers to the church and eventually issued a cease-and-desist order, but the church continued to hold services in defiance of the public health order.

Awaken Church released the following statement on Nov. 17 about sanitation at their locations:

"Awaken Church will continue to provide the safest in-person & online services.

Under CDC standards, our campuses will continue to be sanitized and cleaned. Our “Polar Ionization units” kill 99.4% of pathogens and viruses in the air, making our church locations the ‘safest’ places to be in San Diego.

In keeping our First Amendment right, we will continue to minister to those who are the most affected by all the COVID-19 lockdowns. Specifically tending to those who are struggling with depression, anxiety, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts and addiction.

Beyond any reasonable doubt, it has been proven that in times of crisis the light of the church and the uplifting power of the gospel restores that much needed, life-saving, hope and faith that continues to carry the human spirit through all trials and tribulations!"

The public health advisory comes after the county recorded its highest number of positive COVID-19 cases Saturday, reaching 1,859. Also, 16 new community outbreaks were reported. In the past seven days, 86 community outbreaks were confirmed.

Awaken church continued to host scheduled services over the weekend.

NBC 7 has reached out to Awaken Church for comment and have not heard back.

To read the letter the county sent Awaken Church, click here.

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