On Sunday, a Catholic church in Stafford, England, called for self-isolation after a congregant who attended its morning mass tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
According to The Christian Post, the church explained that they contacted all of their attendees and urged them to self-isolate for 10 days.
"Following the advice given by the NHS over the phone, and the guidelines given on the website, we believe we have contacted everyone who attended this mass, informing them of the situation and the need to isolate for ten days," the church wrote on its Facebook page.
As a result, “all the advertised Masses in this coming week, including next Saturday and Sunday, have to be canceled,” the statement continued.
On Wednesday morning, Canon Michael and Father Simon, the parish priests, provided an update concerning the congregant who tested positive on Sunday along with updated guidelines from the NHS.
“We are pleased to say that the person who tested positive is showing no serious signs of illness and continues to feel better each day,” they wrote on Facebook.
After another discussion with the NHS, “we have now received that nobody in the congregation at the 11.00 am Mass last Sunday needs to continue to self-isolate (other than the family of the person who tested positive),” the priests noted.
While Father Simon has no need to be isolated, Canon Michael will continue in self-isolation as he “spent time in conversation with the person who tested positive”. Both priests have currently tested negative.
They also announced that St Austin’s will reopen its public masses on Jan 9, according to advertised times published in their weekly newsletter.
Meanwhile, both priests encouraged churchgoers not to attend Mass if they were not feeling well, especially if they are expressing COVID-19 symptoms, and to go get tested instead.
“Please remember that the obligation to attend Holy Mass is still suspended,” they wrote. “All our Masses from St Austin’s will continue to be live-streamed through our YouTube and Facebook pages, details of which can be found on our website.”
In the past week, there have been approximately 3,500 new cases of COVID-19 in Staffordshire, a county of approximately 875,000 people in the Midlands of England.
On Monday, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson explained in a televised address that the nation's hospitals were facing “more pressure from COVID-19 than at any time since the start of the pandemic", BBC News reports.
He added that citizens will be under a new lockdown until Mid-February due to a new variant of the virus.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.