A total of 49 cases have been linked to the explosion at Brooks Pentecostal Church in Waldo County, Maine Director of Disease Control and Prevention Dr Neerav Shah told a news conference Thursday.
“We expect that number to increase in the coming days,” Shaw said.
Seven cases are related to the Lighthouse Christian Academy, a school affiliated with the church on its property in Brooks.
The pastor of the church expressed his regret over the explosion on Facebook.
MW Shaw added that church officials were following the isolation measures before the first positive test was announced.
“Although the origin of the virus is not clear, we will take note of all the recommendations and guidelines that CDC has given us,” Shaw wrote. “Our church will address the continuation of our worship in a safe and orderly manner.”
CNN reached out to the church for comment, but did not ask again.
A case has also been attached to the eruption of the Beavis manor, a residential maintenance facility in nearby Searsport, Shaw said. The individual is an employee member and investigators are trying to determine if there is a virus spread in this area.
Chad Glutier, CEO of facility operator DLTC Healthcare, denied that the case was related to the explosion and said the facility checked all residents and staff on Sunday as soon as an employee checked positive. All the results were negative, Clutier said.
Three elementary schools are under investigation as part of the blast. The state is not yet aware of any proliferation cases related to these schools, Shaw said.
Shaw stressed that schools and facilities do not experience an explosion within themselves, but rather individuals who have tested positive as part of the explosion are “involved” with them.
Authorities are monitoring other churches and members of a Bible college where the virus may have spread from those attending a fellowship event earlier this month.
About 100 to 150 people attended the event, Shaw said.
Brooks asked residents to check if he was attending a service at Pentecostal church or in contact with someone who did so.
Shaw said the state health department is working with church and school officials to identify more cases and expand the tests within the district. Waldo County has about 40,000 residents, of whom 1,100 live in Brooks.
Contact CNN Maine CDC for more comments.
CNN’s Anna Sterla and Julian Cummings contributed to the report.
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