Possible virus outbreak at New Hampshire church investigated

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Members of a Nashua church are being asked to get tested for the coronavirus after seven people were diagnosed with COVID-19, and state officials are warning residents about scammers promoting cures and treatments. Coronavirus developments in New Hampshire:

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CHURCH INFECTIONS

Seven people connected to a Nashua church have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and health officials are asking anyone who attended a multi-day prayer session and other events to get tested.

The Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday it is investigating a potential outbreak associated with events hosted by Gate City Church, including a Sept. 19-28 prayer session.

Health officials said anyone who attended events associated with the church since Sept. 19 should seek testing. No one answered the phone at the church early Wednesday evening, but according to a notice on the church's website, services will be online for the next few weeks.

“We have had a few of our members test positive for COVID-19 and while we do not operate in fear, we want to take every step necessary to mitigate your exposure and to be safe. Please know that these are not large numbers and understand that these are not Gate City Church Staff,” the website says.

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SCAM WARNING

New Hampshire's Bureau of Securities Regulation is warning investors to be wary of online schemes about companies promoting products that can detect, treat or cure the coronavirus.

Barry Glennon, director of the bureau, said pitches may include offers to invest in medical technology or healthcare companies through limited partnerships, penny stock, private offerings, and crowdfunding.

The bureau said common characteristics of the schemes include a focus on fear and anxiety by pushing “safe returns," exploiting trendy assets such as cryptocurrencies or complex foreign currency programs, and referring to returns as “passive income" or “cash flow" and promising monthly payments.

“Be wary of optimistic offers, especially during a crisis,” Glennon said in a statement.

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SYMPHONY SUSPENDED

The Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra has suspended the fall part of its 2020-2021 season because of the coronavirus pandemic, the first time in 23 years it it has had to cancel concerts.

“We waited as long as we could, and had a number of scenarios in mind," Susanne Powers, the orchestra's executive director, said in a statement. But she said that the future, “given the directives from the state of New Hampshire, was too much of an unknown" and made planning difficult.

The orchestra is offering a variety of virtual learning and listening experiences.

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THE NUMBERS

As of Wednesday, a total of 8,800 people had tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, an increase of 71 from the previous day. Two new deaths were announced, bringing the total to 448.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire has risen over the past two weeks from 35 new cases per day on Sept. 22 to 71 new cases per day on Oct. 6.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia or death.