State Watch

Over 180 church goers told to self-quarantine after attendee at Mother’s Day service tests positive for COVID-19

More than 180 church goers were told to self-quarantine after attending a Mother’s Day service in northern California where at least one person tested positive for COVID-19. 

The person tested positive the day after the service, Butte County Public Health department announced Friday.

The county did not specify which church the person attended, but Palermo Bible Family Church pastor Michael Jacobsen confirmed to the Washington Post that the incident happened at his congregation.

Jacobsen told the Post the county did not directly communicate with him or his congregation, which he sees as his responsibility.

The church was in violation of the stay-at-home order California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) issued on March 19, which prohibits large public gatherings.  Butte County Public Health officials said ignoring the state order could lead to “more restrictive measures” as the virus continues to spread in California. 

“At this time, organizations that hold in-person services or gatherings are putting the health and safety of their congregations, the general public and our local ability to open up at great risk,” Danette York, director of Butte County Public Health said in a statement.

Jacobsen told the Post he felt emboldened to host the church service last Sunday because of the relatively little cases in Butte County. The county of over 200,000 people has only 22 cases and no deaths as of Saturday. 

“I already had to cancel our Easter celebration, which is the first Easter from when I received Jesus into my life that I wasn’t able to be a church service, and that’s very difficult,” he said. “I see church as a very essential part of my life.”

Tags Church service Coronavirus COVID-19 positive Gavin Newsom Mother's Day stay-at-home order

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