West Virginia is struggling to deal with COVID, and the latest outbreaks are coming directly from churches that decided to gather in person without taking proper precautions. About 75 recent cases have been traced back to seven churches.
At least 48 people had tested positive for the coronavirus by Monday afternoon, all of whom were linked to the North Charleston Apostolic Church in Kanawha County.
In Taylor County, public information officer Shawn Thorn said the four local cases were linked to a weekly bible study for adults. According to Thorn, the church volunteered to close for two weeks without requests from the county health department.
Julie Miller, the Boone County Health Department administrator, said four of the eight cases from her county’s church are Boone County residents who were involved in a three-day vacation bible school for children.
For the past two weeks, the state has had a face mask requirement for indoor gatherings when social distancing isn’t possible, which is quite the loophole for anyone who wants to exploit it. But West Virginia Public Broadcasting says that there’s no indication that Republican Gov. Jim Justice‘s executive order applies to churches. One county administrator said it doesn’t.
It’s not that these are the only COVID outbreaks in the state, but it’s an example of a preventable reason for an outbreak. These churches did not need to meet in person. They chose to. And because of the irresponsible decisions of church leaders, more people will suffer.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)