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Christ Church Georgetown.JPG
World News

Prominent pastor among coronavirus cases reported in Washington DC

by Press Association

Several people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Washington DC and the surrounding area.

Over the weekend a senior leader of a prominent Episcopal church was identified as the first person in the city to test positive for the virus.

Rev Timothy Cole, the rector of Christ Church Georgetown, was in stable condition after being taken to hospital on Saturday night, according to a statement Sunday from the Rev Crystal Hardin, the assistant rector.

The church has suspended all activities.

Monday night local time the church also shared a post on Facebook saying its organist has also caught the virus. 

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said several hundred people who visited the church on February 24 or between February 28 and March 3 are being asked to self-quarantine for 14 days since their entrance into the church.

On Sunday, Maryland reported two new cases, raising to five the total confirmed cases in the state.

Virginia reported its second case.

According to Christ Church Georgetown website, Mr Cole has been the rector since September 2016, is married and has two children.

“Out of an abundance of caution, Christ Church has cancelled all activities including church services until further notice.

“We recommend that concerned community members contact their health care providers,” the statement said.

Health officials said they had determined as part of their investigation that “an individual’s visitation to Christ Church Georgetown warrants precautionary measures” and they recommended a temporary halt to services.

In response, the church publicly identified Mr Cole as the victim.

Officials on Saturday had announced the district’s first positive test, but identified the victim only as a man in his 50s.

A second local positive test involves a man who visited the Washington area from Nigeria, but he was being held in hospital in Maryland, Ms Bowser said.

The Washington mayor’s office said a city high school linked to the second case is staying closed Monday, though no new confirmed coronavirus cases have been reported.

Three people who stayed at the same house as the Nigerian man who tested positive in Maryland were tested Sunday and all were negative.

But one of them works at School Without Walls High School, which is remaining closed to give staff time to communicate with staff and parents and to clean the school.

Ms Bowser said she expects the school to re-open Tuesday.

no signs of the virus spreading in the community in Virginia.”

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