At least 24 coronavirus cases linked to church in West Virginia

BY: CHRISTINA CARREGA, ABC NEWS

(CHARLESTON, W.V.) — A church in Charleston, West Virginia, has moved their in-person service online after at least 24 congregants tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department announced on Wednesday that it has tracked the two dozen cases of COVID-19 to the North Charleston Apostolic Church.

The outbreak has affected residents in Kanawha, Putnam and Logan counties. Kanawha County reported the majority, with 19 positive cases.

“We don’t want to discourage people from going to church … but COVID-19 is still out there and we have to be very careful,” Dr. Sherri Young, health officer and executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, said in a statement.

Church leaders said they will close for three weeks “in order to conduct deep cleaning throughout the building” and have asked congregants to isolate, according to health officials.

The North Charleston Apostolic Church did not return a request for comment.

The church will now stream previously recorded sermons on its website on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening.

Young advised anyone attending in-person services anywhere to “wear your mask, keep six feet between you and other congregants and wash your hands frequently.”

West Virginia was the last state in the U.S. to report a coronavirus case. To date, over 3.4 million Americas have tested positive for the virus, over 137,000 have died and over 1 million have recovered.

As of Wednesday, the state has 4,557 confirmed cases and 98 deaths, according to health officials.

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