A WARNING - Priest with cornavirus may have infected 500
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A Catholic priest may have infected up to 500 people at Mass after distributing Communion and shaking hands with parishioners. The priest has tested positive for cornavirus infection. The consequences of this event may be substantial.
At least 500 people may have been infected with cornavirus after they shook hands with a priest who tested positive.
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Cornavirus is highly infectious, so the Church has issued guidelines for social distance at Mass. Included are the temporary suspension of Communion of both species and to avoid contact during the sign of peace. These guidelines are being issued on a per-diocese basis.
However, one priest, Rev. Timothy Cole of Christ Church, Georgetown, distributed Communion and shook hands with an estimated 500 parishioners at Mass in a Washington D.C. area church. Rev. Cole did so in late February and may have done so on more than one occasion. It is unlikely the priest was aware of their infection and the danger at the time.
Chances are if Fr. Cole, was sick at the time, the germ will be passed to others. Parishioners are being asked to self-quarantine.
Coronavirus is especially dangerous for the elderly who are most likely to be hospitalized and die as a result of infection. Younger people are not likely to suffer complications unless they have underlying conditions.
This event is a warning for all. Social distance must be enforced immediately at all churches and elsewhere. The purpose is to slow the spread of coronavirus while a vaccine can be developed. No priest wants to be responsible for spreading illness.
It must be assumed coronavirus is spreading unchecked in the United States, given the low numbers of tests carried out and the widespread incidence of infection. The virus has appeared in most states with the number growing each day.
Our parishes will be hard hit by a decline in attendance and canceled events. As parishioners we need to support our parish communities during this time. We also need to be conscious of the risk posed by this emerging illness.
We pray for the recovery of the priest who is ill, and for the containment of any illness that could have been inadvertently spread. We pray for the healing of all people and all nations. Let us heed the warnings of our healthcare professionals and our Church leaders and carry on in our faith, grateful and confident that our Church is there to minister to all in need, especially the sick.
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