Almost a third of attendees at Salvation Army conference get COVID-19

The conference was held in Finlayson.
Author:
Updated:
Original:
Screen Shot 2020-10-21 at 7.12.53 AM

An outbreak of COVID-19 at a conference for Salvation Army staff members has infected almost a third of those in attendance.

The outbreak, first reported last week by the Pioneer Press, has been confirmed by the Salvation Army Twin Cities, which says that at least 20 staff from Minnesota and North Dakota contracting the virus as a result.

The conference was held Oct. 6-8 at a camp near Finlayson, between the Twin Cities and Duluth, with around half of those invited attending in person – with 62 attending in total – with the others joining virtually.

In a statement to BMTN, Salvation Army Twin Cities spokesman Dan Furry said: "The Salvation Army has employed strict protocols that closely follow CDC and state guidelines in order to maintain the health and safety of its officers and staff. These protocols were in place at the conference, which mandated the wearing of masks, hand washing, social distancing, sanitization and gloves (for kitchen staff).

"These protocols were reaffirmed with announcements from the speaker’s podium and, when any observed lapses in protocol were observed, they were addressed."

But despite the Salvation Army saying it has strict COVID-19 protocols, the Pioneer Press reported – citing sources who were there – that not all attendees complied, noting that this was particularly the case "during congregational singing and during downtimes between work sessions and worship services," and that "old acquaintances greeted each other with hugs."

Furry said that a number of officers who attended the conference starting showing symptoms after their return, with the first notice of one feeling unwell being received on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 10.

Follow Bring Me The News on YouTube

However, no positive tests were confirmed until Monday, Oct. 12, with Furry noting that Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel Dan Jennings attended services on Sunday, Oct. 11 "without any confirmation or knowledge of a conference attendee having contracted the virus."

"Per our policy, we have quarantined all conference attendees (and those they interacted with), and are awaiting test results for many of the attendees," Furry said.

"Out of an abundance of caution we shut down our headquarters in the Twin Cities, as some officers who attended the conference had visited the headquarters building at the beginning of this week. We have also taken remedial measures at The Salvation Army field offices based on exposure and contact tracing. We will continue to work with our officers and employees to plan our return to our headquarters and field offices in a manner that is safe and complies with all applicable health guidance."

The Minnesota Department of Health has said that thus far it has only identified 5 cases connected with the conference, but that it's possible that some of those infected have either not been interviewed yet or not had their test results reported to MDH.

The latest forecast from Novak Weather

Next Up

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 7.34.43 AM

Watch: Drunk squirrel in Minnesota captures the world's attention

The squirrel was immediately cut off after nearly tipping over.

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 7.15.09 PM

Small town gym refusing to close facing lawsuit from attorney general

The gym is facing a lawsuit and a temporary restraining order to halt their operations.

credit card, payment

Money Gal Coaching: Bouncing back after living your best life

Kelly Blodgett started Money Gal Coaching after paying down nearly $50K in debt in 18 months.

flickr-mall-of-america-mitchell-hirsch-march-2019

When do stores open on Black Friday this year?

Many major retailers will be open Black Friday, some for extended hours.

police tape, crime scene

Man found dead outside home near Cass Lake

The man was reportedly shot outside the property.

Minnesota_Welcome_Sign_-_Minnesota_Welcomes_You_-_Taylors_Falls_(28269804891)

Gov. Walz announces $1M in grants to boost Minnesota tourism

The money will be used for marketing efforts to attract people to Minnesota's hard-hit tourist spots.

coronavirus, ICU

Nov. 25 COVID-19 update: 72 deaths ties Minnesota's single-day high

A COVID-19 update will not be provided on Thanksgiving Day.

Texa-Tonka

Revival to open its fourth Twin Cities location

The fried chicken and smoked meat maestros are moving to St. Louis Park.

Duluth and Case Recreation Center

St. Paul to open two extra temporary shelters for homeless people

Mayor Melvin Carter announced the new shelters will be opened in the event of excess demand.

vote, election

Minnesota once again had the highest election turnout in the country

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a record percentage of voters also sent in absentee ballots.

Related

Screen Shot 2020-05-14 at 9.01.35 AM

Salvation Army closes Maplewood adult daycare program

The program cited financial hardships and uncertainties caused by COVID-19.

MCF Moose Lake

COVID-19 cases rise to 8 at Moose Lake prison

The cases continue to rise after three more positive tests.

Karcher Foster Services

Foster care firm tells employees they may have to work even with mild COVID-19

The memo sent to employees was shared online, and prompted angry responses.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz to announce 'next steps' in COVID-19 response at press conference

It's expected that a statewide mask mandate will be implemented.