(RNS) — A recent COVID-19 spike in Northern California’s Shasta County has been partly attributed to the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in the city of Redding, according to a local news site.
The Record Searchlight on Tuesday (Oct. 6) reported that 123 COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks were linked to the school, while 80 other cases were attributed to a rehab center in Redding.
With cases surging, Shasta County will have to go through tighter COVID-19 restrictions for businesses, according to the Record Searchlight.
Public Health Director Robin Schurig was quoted saying businesses will have three days to comply and the new restrictions will go into effect Friday.
Schurig said the county could face even tighter controls.
Bethel, a Pentecostal church in the city of Redding, operates the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. The school offers classes on life coaching, preaching and career ministry.
While originally under the Assemblies of God denomination, the church now identifies as nondenominational. Bethel and other charismatic churches emphasize spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues and healings. Bethel has a particular emphasis on miracles.
Early on in the pandemic, Bethel church leaders said they were taking precautions in the way it conducted its ministries.
In March, for example, they discouraged Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry students, who evangelize to strangers as they learn to pray and to heal the sick, from visiting health care settings.
This story will be updated.