At least 40 people test positive for coronavirus after church event, Alabama pastor says
More than 40 people were infected with the coronavirus after attending a multi-day revival event at a north Alabama Baptist church, according to the congregation’s pastor.
“The whole church has got it, just about,” Al.com quoted pastor Daryl Ross of Warrior Creek Missionary Baptist Church in Marshall County as saying.
The church is in the small community of Strawberry, about 60 miles northeast of Birmingham.
Ross said the churchgoers, including himself, tested positive after the congregation held a series of religious services featuring a guest pastor over the course of several days last week.
Ross said the services were shut down by Friday after learning that one of the members who attended had tested positive for the coronavirus. The member presented no symptoms, but got tested when several of his co-workers received positive tests, according to the pastor.
Over the weekend, dozens more attendees of the church services fell ill, Ross said, adding: “I’ve got church members sick everywhere.”
From Orange County to Northern California, people continue to gather for large outdoor religious ceremonies without following rules to slow the spread of the coronavirus, prompting stern reprimands from public health officials.
“We knew what we were getting into,” he said. “We knew the possibilities.”
Ross said only two members’ cases were serious, and as of Sunday, nobody had been hospitalized, though many had reported having fevers, headaches and respiratory issues.
He said some social distancing measures were in place during the services, which were held multiple times a day, and most members skipped the events out of concern for the virus. Those who attended sat with their own families. Masks were not required, the newspaper reported.
“We let everybody do what they felt like. ... If you were comfortable shaking hands, you shook hands. If you didn’t, you didn’t,” the pastor said.
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