ROCKLIN, Calif. — A former member of a Rocklin church says multiple people have tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a recent service, but the church's pastor refuses to move to virtual services out of fear of losing donations.
The former member, referred to as Cynthia, spoke with ABC10, but asked to keep her identity hidden. Cynthia says that half a dozen people at Destiny Church have tested positive for COVID-19 including some of those who work there.
“They are so afraid to speak up because they are threatened and that’s their only money," Cynthia said. "That’s their only income to support their family."
Cynthia said Pastor Gregg Farrington at Destiny Church refuses to have services virtually because he fears fewer people will attend and donate.
“He’s all about greed, this is about greed, it’s not about the pandemic," Cynthia said. "It’s not about people’s lives and that’s why I’m speaking up today."
Michael Young, a spokesperson for the city of Rocklin, says they are aware that an in-person service took place at the church recently and multiple people have filed complaints with code enforcement. The city is taking an educational approach to address those who violate public health orders and say they have contacted the church by mail, phone, and in-person to remind them of public health guidelines.
We reached out to Pastor Greg Farrington regarding the outbreak, but have yet to hear back. However, Farrington told ABC10 before his service that it's his congregation's choice whether they decide to come to church in-person.
“We are going to have people who, unfortunately, die of COVID, but it's such a small percent,” Farrington said. "People are getting sick, but they're recovering from this sickness."
Placer County Public Health says they aren't aware of a cluster of cases connected to Destiny Church in the recent weeks, but case interviews may not always capture all exposure settings and encourage anyone with knowledge of cases to get in touch with Public Health.
While not all churches are defying the state orders, state health officials want to reiterate how coronavirus outbreaks have happened at churches.