After California church defies state orders, 180 congregants are exposed to COVID-19

After California church defies state orders, 180 congregants are exposed to COVID-19

A person who attended a Mother's Day church service in California learned they tested positive for COVID-19 the next day, health officials said Friday.

The more than 180 people who attended the service with the infected person have been notified and instructed to self-quarantine, according to a statement from Butte County Public Health.

The church, which was not identified, opened for in-person services in defiance of Governor Gavin Newsom's stay-at-home order which went into place on March 19, health officials said. Butte County Public Health said this decision would cost many hours and create "a financial burden" for those trying to slow or stop the spread of COVID-19.

“At this time, organizations that hold in-person services or gatherings are putting the health and safety of their congregations, the general public and our local ability to open up at great risk,” stated Danette York, director of Butte County Public Health. “Moving too quickly through the reopening process can cause a major setback and could require us to revert back to more restrictive measures.”

Social distancing during service:Detroit priest goes viral after using squirt gun with holy water to bless parishioners

California has had more than 80,200 cases of coronavirus and more than 3,200 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The state is currently in the second phase of a four-step reopening process which allows some businesses to reopen and some counties to move ahead more quickly if they have been minimally harmed by the pandemic. The next phase, which could reopen in-person church services, salons, gyms, and movie theaters could be months away.

Contributing: The Associated Press

Follow N'dea Yancey-Bragg on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/05/18/coronavirus-california-church-180-people-exposed-mothers-day/5212271002/

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