In Northern California, more than 180 people who attended the religious service on Mother’s Day were exposed to the novel coronavirus after the person who attended that event tested positive for the COVID-19. Butte County Public Health said that the infected person received his positive test report the day after the religious service and is now isolated in the home.
In a statement, the director of Butte County Public Health, Danette York said that at this time, organizations that hold in-person gatherings or services are putting the safety and health of their congregations and the general public at great risk. She added that we all need to play our part to follow the precautionary measures and mitigation efforts so that our Reopen Butte County plan can continue to move forward.
The public health officials said that the church in Butte County, north of Sacramento, decided to open its doors despite orders banning gatherings of any size. The government has banned and disallowed gatherings of any size by giving ‘Stay at Homes’ orders in California. Butte County is among more than 20 counties of California that have been approved to advance to Stage 2 of the reopening plan of the state. The Stage 2 reopening plan for Butte County does not give the authority for allowing the large gatherings. Those might be considered later on as authorities move toward a Stage 3 reopening.
According to Johns Hopkins University, there were 78,725 cases of the novel coronavirus in California with nearly 3,208 deaths. Health officials said that in spite of the order, the organization chose to open the doors for the religious service on Mother’s day which resulted in exposing all people to the novel coronavirus. York said that moving too quickly through the process of reopening may cause the major setback and could require us to return back to more strict restrictive measures. It is requested that everyone should follow the order by the state government and the reopening plan to help in controlling the potential spread of COVID-19.
The choice of the religious congregation came at the cost of many hours and also a financial burden for an effective response towards stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus. People who attended the service last weekend have been notified of their exposure to the novel coronavirus and instructed by BCPH to quarantine themselves. Authorities are now working on testing for all those who attended that service.
Such decisions can put the county at great risk and can question the ability of the county to continue opening at a faster rate than the state. Many infected coronavirus patients experience cough and fever for more than three weeks. People with existing health issues and older adults can face a severe problem, including pneumonia, and even death. The vast majority recover.
This recent incident highlights the continuous tug-of-war between some religious organizations and authorities as they work to control the spread of the novel coronavirus. Some religious congregations around the country have kept on meeting, paying little heed to stay-at-home orders however some states had cancelled religious gatherings. Disagreements over whether religious groups should be permitted to meet in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted several legal confrontations between religious leaders and public officials, who have communicated concerns that religious services could exacerbate the issue.