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Hundreds of people may have been exposed to coronavirus at Dover church events

Meredith Newman
Delaware News Journal

The state health department is asking members of a Dover church to get tested for COVID-19, after three of its members were confirmed as having the disease. The church also recently hosted conferences attended by hundreds.

Attendees of these conferences are also urged to get tested for the virus.

At least three members of Destiny Christian Church have tested positive for COVID-19, two of whom attended services before realizing they had the virus, heath officials said. 

The organization, which according to its Facebook page is nondenominational, hosted two conferences this month, including one this past weekend.

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Both conferences drew a "few hundred persons each weekend," potentially increasing the risk of transmission of the virus, health officials said. 

The state will be offering testing for church members from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday at the church, located at 2161 Forrest Ave. This testing site is also open to the public, and registration is not required.  

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Wilmington residents get tested for Covid-19 at a drive-thru screening and testing center hosted by ChristianaCare at P.S. du Pont Middle School Tuesday afternoon.

In mid-June, Gov. John Carney allowed houses of worship to hold in-person services, though only at 60% capacity. The state has also started to allow in-person, outdoor events up to 250 people to occur, with the requirement that social distancing precautions be taken.

Events larger than 250 people are required to submit plans to the state. 

Andrea Wojcik, spokeswoman for the Division of Public Health, said the conferences were not held outdoors. She added that the facility's conferences did not violate the state's capacity rule.

In a video posted to the church's Facebook page, pastors Dale and LuAnne Mast encouraged members and conference attendees to get tested. The church, the pastors said, will be closed for two weeks. 

Contact Meredith Newman at (302) 324-2386 or at mnewman@delawareonline.com. Follow her on Twitter at @merenewman.