As of Jan. 5, the number of COVID-19 cases identified as stemming from a Christmas concert at First Baptist Church in Hendersonville had indeed topped 100.
“The current number is 102 positive cases stemming from the First Baptist cluster,” said Andrew Mundhenk, spokesman for the Henderson County Department of Public Health. “This includes some positive individuals who did not attend the event but were known close contacts of a positive case who did attend.
“We are not aware of any deaths at this point.”
The church held the concert event over the weekend of Dec. 5. Some who attended said the church was crowded, many people were not wearing masks or social distancing, and choir members were singing shoulder-to-shoulder.
The church suspended in-person services after the outbreak, with Pastor Steve Scoggins and Robert Bridges, chairman of Deacons, saying in a joint statement, “The current wave of virus infection is so widespread that we must take action out of concern for the safety of our church, our community, and especially those who are most vulnerable in our midst.”
In the most recent posting on its website, Scoggins said he believes “it will be some time before it will be wise and safe to meet again for in-person worship.”
“This is a dangerous time,” Scoggins said in the statement. “I urge every one of you to take every precaution you can when you go out.”
He cited a retired military officer in the church who spent much of his career in the Middle East, where despite temperatures in reaching 120 degrees, “no soldier would think of going without their flak jackets.
“We need to consider our masks to be our flak jackets and wear them consistently,” Scoggins said in the statement. “I know God has a way of bringing good about from the worst circumstances. The fact that the precautions we thought had kept us safe here at First Baptist failed us may be God’s way of warning others to take seriously the dangers we are facing.”