Hundreds of DC church visitors urged to self-quarantine after reverend gets COVID-19

Posted at 9:43 AM, Mar 09, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Hundreds of people who visited a Washington D.C. church are being urged to self-quarantine after a reverend tested positive for the new coronavirus on Saturday.

Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday that those who visited Christ Church, Georgetown Episcopal on Feb. 24, and between Feb. 28 and March 3 could’ve been exposed to the virus.

D.C. Health recommends that anyone who visited the church on those dates should isolate themselves at home for 14 days from the last time they visited the church.

“Isolating at home includes not going to work or school, and not attending any large or public gatherings, or using public transportation or ride-sharing,” wrote D.C. health in a statement.

The rector who tested positive for the virus, Rev. Timothy Cole, became the first known coronavirus patient in the capital, The Washington Post reports. He’s in stable condition at an area hospital, according to the church.

“First, I want to assure you that I will be okay,” wrote Cole in a statement. “I am receiving excellent care and am in good spirits under the circumstances. I will remain quarantined for the next 14 days as will the rest of my family.”

The Post reports that Cole oversaw services attended by 550 people on March 1, during which he shook hands with parishioners and provided Communion. Church officials say he appeared healthy that day and had been regularly washing his hands, but he had been in ill in February, according to The Post.

The church has also suspended all services and other events until further notice due to the coronavirus.

As of Monday morning, more than 500 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and 22 people have died as a result of the disease in the country, according to Johns Hopkins.

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