VIDEO: Health officials concerned after Elevation Church hosts large gathering without masks

North Carolina news

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE)- Mecklenburg County health officials say they are keeping a close eye on Elevation Church after they posted a video of the church’s worship team altogether and all maskless.

The county has pointed out that there are no known cases so far from the church, but they did say the testing the church did prior to the video shoot was not enough to keep them protected.

Elevation Church is based in Ballantyne and run by well-known pastor Steven Furtick. The video was all professionally shot and there are a number of others that were shot.

Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris says they are aware of the video and that they’ve been in contact with the church about their concerns, but says there’s not a lot they can do right now.

While it is a First Amendment right, health officials say churches have been a source of outbreaks. The most notable was a United House of Prayer convocation last year that the county says led to hundreds of people testing positive and 12 people dying.

“We’ll continue to work with them and preach the right behavior. We have not seen any clusters or outbreaks from that church and continue to watch that carefully. That’s the most we can do at this point,” Harris said.

The video itself was posted just within the last day or so, but it has received hundreds of comments, many of them wondering why so many people were gathered in one spot.

“You just can’t take chances with people’s lives,” Jenny Gunn said after seeing the video.

Gunn asked a question that was on many other viewer’s minds as well.

“Even if you did it, why would you flaunt that? That’s a bad look for any organization,” she said.

Many defended Elevation Church on social media, and Elevation itself put up their own defense, saying everyone involved were tested and tested negative.

But Harris says, right now, with COVID-19 case counts in Mecklenburg County now topping 80,000, testing can only do so much.

“A negative test is a point in time. It doesn’t mean that person could not become infected, or that they’re already infected,” she said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Click here for full list of trending stories