Covid outbreak in Lander linked to church services

Electron Microscope image of Covid-19 Coronavirus. Community spread of the disease is still occurring in Fremont County.

The Wyoming Department of Health Monday confirmed that a local church is the source of an outbreak of Covid-19 infections. In an email to the WDH’s Kim Deti said the outbreak began earlier this month. “It appears there are seven lab-confirmed and two probable cases identified so far as part of this outbreak,” according to Deti. “Sounds like there is an ongoing outbreak connected with a local church in your county that held a special series of services.”

The church has been identified by other sources as the Word of Faith Family Church in the 500 block of South Second Street.

A message left on the church’s voice mail has not yet been returned. However, in a recorded video service from this past Sunday, August 16th posted on the church’s website, Pastor Danny Bauer referenced the church had suffered “an attack a couple weeks ago,” which he attributed to the work of the devil. In the recording Bauer said his church did not “police everybody” with Covid precautions and he said the disease “is a real thing going on.” He also said “it is easy to get lax in these things,” an apparent reference to Covid-19 precautions including wearing masks and social distancing. (This post will be updated with comment from the church when it is received.)

Pastor Danny Bauer. left, and his son Pastor Michael Bauer from Sunday’s recorded church service posted on the Word of Faith Family Church website.

Bauer noted in the service that “a great many of you” were affected by the disease, but he said “we are marching on” and “praying all over you. We are walking through this, and don’t back off. No matter how bad you may feel, we have victory over this.”

The last two services held by the church featured only Bauer and his Pastor son Michael or Bauer alone sitting by himself in the church sanctuary with only video operators there.

The Governor’s public health orders in effect at the time of the outbreak allowed religious services of not more than 50 people with social distancing recommended.

As of Monday afternoon, the Wyoming Department of Health reported a total of 113 active cases of the Coronavirus in Fremont County as well as the highest number of deaths in Wyoming at one dozen. There have been 33 deaths across the state.