Christ Church in Georgetown says 550 parishioners are in self-quarantine amid coronavirus concerns
WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - D.C. Mayor Bowser recommends a two-week self-quarantine for anyone who visited Christ Church Georgetown during a six-day period after the rector tested positive for the first confirmed case of coronavirus in D.C.
On Monday night, D.C. officials and a spokesperson says a 39-year-old man who is an organist at the church also tested positive for the virus.
The church says approximately 550 parishioners are in self-quarantine through March 9. Church officials say a large number of parishioners have been contacted and they "have not heard of a single instance where a parishioner is not following this guidance."
Bowser made the recommendation at a press conference on Monday. "Early Sunday morning, based on information gathered by D.C. Health, D.C. Health recommended temporarily pausing services at Christ Church Georgetown and the church further suspended all services and meetings until further notice."
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"D.C. Health has been reaching out to known contacts to begin the process of self-quarantine," Bowser said. "As of late, last night, D.C. Health is recommending that anyone who visited Christ Church Georgetown either on February 24th, or between February 28th and March 3rd, self-quarantine themselves at home for 14 days since the last time they visited the church."
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"D.C. Health has been in communication with the church and has been reaching out to congregants with this information and guidance," Bowser said. "Any person who visited the church on those dates should call D.C. Health or their health care providers if they develop symptoms -- or if they have experienced symptoms of COVID 19 in the 14 days since they visited the church."
Rev. Tim Cole, the rector of the historic Episcopal church, remains hospitalized.
Christ Church Georgetown spokesman Rob Volmer and his family are among the members currently in self-quarantine. He told FOX 5's Evan Lambert what it's been like so far on Monday evening.
"It means working from home, it means school from home. It means that we’ve reached out to all of our primary health care providers and let them know the situation. We’re taking our temperature twice a day," said Volmer. "We’re doing a lot of cleaning so far. Looking at the projects. Making sure I have the equipment to do the different projects, dusting out the old board games. And looking at this, yes we’re quarantined but you gotta make the most of it."
One parishioner, Jim Cannon of Silver Spring, told the Washington Post he's not planning to quarantine and spent Monday playing golf in Reston, Virginia, albeit at a distance from his friends.
Of this information, Volmer told FOX 5: "I think they’re putting other people at risk. I don’t. Trying to prove a point. What point? That the mayor’s wrong and your doctor’s right? I just don’t think it’s worth the risk. It’s two weeks out of your life. Let’s put our community before our own needs at this point in time."
Georgetown Day School will be closed Tuesday for a deep-cleaning. A statement on the school's website says community members closely-affiliated with Christ Church attend the school. School officials say they do not expect the school to be closed on a long-term basis.
The number of confirmed cases in the District is now five.
For more information, D.C. Health can be reached at 202-576-1117.