Coronavirus: D.C. churchgoers urged to self-quarantine after rector diagnosed with virus

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Washington — Health officials in the District of Columbia have urged attendees of a prominent church to self-quarantine after its rector tested positive for the coronavirus. Christ Church Georgetown on Sunday identified the Reverend Tim Cole, its rector, as the first person in the nation’s capital to test positive for coronavirus.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday that anyone who visited Christ Church Georgetown on February 24 or between February 28 and March 3 should self-quarantine at home for 14 days since their last visit to the church.

“We see what’s happening across the country and certainly we want to put our city in the best position to respond and to care for people who have been exposed,” Bowser said during a press conference Monday.

Health officials in the district estimate “several hundred people” had interactions with Cole.

Cole was diagnosed with coronavirus at a local hospital Saturday night and remains hospitalized. He is in stable condition, the Reverend Crystal Hardin told reporters Sunday. Cole confirmed his diagnosis in an email to parishioners. 

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Christ Church Georgetown on Sunday, March 8, 2020.

CBS News


The church on Sunday said it suspended services out of caution, marking the first time it closed its doors since a fire in the 1800s. Founded in 1817, Christ Church Georgetown is a fixture of the upscale Washington community and counts among its parishioners government officials. 

D.C. health officials are reaching out to congregants and urged those who develop symptoms to contact their health care providers, Bowser said.

In addition to Cole, a second unidentified person in D.C. tested positive for the coronavirus. The individual traveled to the U.S. on March 8 and stayed in the district for one night after arriving in the country.

There have been more than 500 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., with cases spanning 34 states and the District of Columbia. More than 20 people in the U.S. have died from the virus.



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