HONOLULU (KHON2) — The church linked to a Maui COVID-19 cluster said they do not pose a threat to the community and they do plan to offer in-person mass Easter weekend.
The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) identified King’s Cathedral in Kahului as the source of a growing COVID-19 cluster on Wednesday, March 31, linked to 55 cases on Maui.
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King’s Cathedral and Chapels administrator Kelly Davison said, that number is spread out over the past three weeks since the DOH first identified the cluster on Sunday, March 7.
Davison said, they also do not consider the cases as a cluster.
“As of April 1st, we have 35 cases, again, not in one location but spread among 24 different locations,” Davison said. “All of it being lumped into one location such as the Department of Health has stated, that is actually simply not a true statement.”
The DOH says the cluster poses a threat to the community and “King’s Cathedral in Kahului is encouraged to cancel all upcoming in-person events and conduct only virtual services until the cluster is contained.”
Davison said, they are working with DOH officials and are continuing to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines like social distancing, wearing masks and properly sanitizing. He said, they do plan to hold in-person services over Easter weekend.
“We had a meeting with the County of Maui, Mayor Victorino (Wednesday) and he has given us permission to continue our in person services based on the fact that there is a much lower number of positive cases that spread among multiple locations,” Davidson said
He said, King’s Cathedral and Chapels serves more than 3,000 people each week on average.
“Thirty-five people out of 3,000 is very, very low,” Davison said. “So what is considered a threat to the community?”
He explained that church is essential in the same way that hospitals are.
“We are considered essential just as a hospital takes in the sick and takes care of the sick,” he explained. “Would you shut down a hospital cause they’re receiving COVID patients? No you wouldn’t.”
Maui Mayor Michael Victorino said, he supports them because they are following guidelines.
“They have tried to accommodate and do what is right,” Victorino explained. “With the good Lord’s will, they will do it again giving virtual, drive thru and in-person services that will be available. So there are choices.”
Victorino said, the County is also offering Maui War Memorial Stadium as an option to hold services on Sunday.
King’s Cathedral and Chapels has not announced if it will be using the stadium as of Thursday, April 1.