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Coronavirus

Church Tied to Oregon’s Largest Coronavirus Outbreak

SALEM, Ore. — A church in rural northeastern Oregon is now the epicenter of the state’s largest coronavirus outbreak, as 236 people tested positive for the disease, authorities said.

The outbreak also led to Oregon’s second consecutive record-setting daily case count. In response to the increasing case counts Gov. Kate Brown last week said she was putting all county applications for further reopening from her COVID-19 restrictions on hold for seven days.

The Oregon Health Authority reported 278 new statewide cases Tuesday — a 51% increase from Monday’s case count.

Officials cited the rise in cases due largely to increased testing, contact tracing, workplace outbreaks “as well as potential spread in the community.”

The largest outbreak, which was first made public Monday, is associated with Lighthouse Pentecostal Church in Union County.

The Observer newspaper of La Grande reported the church held services in April and May even though Oregon COVID-19 restrictions limited gatherings. Attempts by The Associated Press to reach representatives of the church were not successful Tuesday.

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