A billboard with a message from Awaken Church. Photo via Facebook.

In an effort to notify all individuals who may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, San Diego County public health officials took a rare step Saturday by releasing the location of a COVID-19 outbreak.

The county is asking that all those who attended indoor services and events at the Balboa Avenue campus of Awaken Church between Nov. 15 and Nov. 22 to quarantine for 14 days from the last time they were at the church and to watch for symptoms of COVID-19. People who attended church functions during the time period should also be tested for COVID-19, county officials said.

Identifying the site of a COVID-19 outbreak is rare in San Diego County because contract tracers are generally able to identify exposed individuals and ensure appropriate measures are taken to prevent additional spread. In the case of Awaken Church, public health investigators have been unable to identify and notify all of those exposed.

The county notified church officials about the outbreak on Nov. 23.

An announcement posted Nov. 17 on the church’s website gives an overview of safety measures being taken by church leadership and their mission to serve congregants during the pandemic:

“Awaken Church will continue to provide the safest in-person & online services.

Under CDC standards, our campuses will continue to be sanitized and cleaned. Our “Polar Ionization units” kill 99.4% of pathogens and viruses in the air, making our church locations the ‘safest’ places to be in San Diego.

In keeping our First Amendment right, we will continue to minister to those who are the most affected by all the COVID-19 lockdowns. Specifically tending to those who are struggling with depression, anxiety, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts and addiction.

Beyond any reasonable doubt, it has been proven that in times of crisis the light of the church and the uplifting power of the gospel restores that much needed, life-saving, hope and faith that continues to carry the human spirit through all trials and tribulations!”

Awaken Church has five locations in San Diego County and one just south of Salt Lake City.

On Saturday, the county reported a record 1,859 new cases of COVID-19, which was a marked increased over the record number of 1,802 new cases posted the previous day.

– Staff reports

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