MARION, Va. (WJHL) — A Southwest Virginia health district is warning of COVID-19 outbreaks at churches.
The Mount Rogers Health District says there have been multiple outbreaks in houses of worship throughout the district, which includes Bland, Carroll, Grayson, Smyth, Washington, and Wythe counties plus the cities of Bristol and Galax.
One outbreak involved more than 40 COVID-19 cases, according to the health district.
“We value our faith communities and the support and encouragement they provide during these trying times,” Director Karen Shelton said in a news release Tuesday. “We want these communities to continue to be able to provide these important services, and implore both faith leaders and congregants to take steps to keep themselves and their communities safe.”
“Unfortunately, our houses of worship are not immune to either the spread or severity of COVID-19 disease. We look forward to working together with faith communities to keep everyone as safe as possible.”
The health district encourages houses of worship to hold their gatherings outside with churchgoers maintaining at least six feet of distancing, or 10 feet if there is singing or shouting, in addition to wearing face coverings.