County officials warned people who attended a North Carolina funeral in July that about 10 mourners with the novel coronavirus were present at the memorial.
The infected people attended a July 25 memorial service at Bonlee Recreational Park in Chatham County, as well as a July 27 funeral service at Pittsboro’s Emmaus Baptist Church, health officials said.
“Our understanding is that between 70 to 100 people were at the memorial service and more than 200 were at the funeral,” Chatham County Health Department spokesman Zachary Horner told NBC News.
The attendees reportedly did not receive their positive test results until after the two events. The church told health officials the funeral required masks and six-foot social distancing, adding that it provided masks to anyone who did not have one.
“These measures likely helped reduce the risk of spread at the service,” the county said in a notice Tuesday.
“If you attended either or both of these events, please monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and be sure to practice social distancing, especially around those who are at higher risk of serious illness such as older adults and people with underlying health conditions,” the notice said. “If you were told that you were in close contact with someone who tested positive, quarantine at home and stay away from others for at least 14 days.”
North Carolina has recorded about 128,000 cases of the virus and 2,038 deaths. Last week, the state reported a new single-day record for deaths from the virus, with 45.
A July survey found about half of Americans said they would either “definitely” or “probably” feel safe attending a funeral, compared to 43 percent who probably or definitely would not. Fifty-three percent of self-identified Democrats said they definitely or probably would not, compared to 31 percent of Republicans and 43 percent of independents.