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Georgia, Texas churches forced to close doors once more after congregants come down with coronavirus

Faith in the time of COVID-19

Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

At least two churches in Georgia and Texas closed their doors once more amid the COVID-19 pandemic after congregants reportedly tested positive for the virus.

So what's happening in Georgia?

A spokesperson for Catoosa Baptist Tabernacle in Ringgold, Georgia, told the Christian Post that the church shuttered for a second time during the coronavirus pandemic after some of its congregants began "dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 virus."

The church, according to the spokesman, would no longer be offering "in-person worship services for the foreseeable future."

The church will remain closed until "further notice in an effort of extreme caution for the safety and well-being of our families."

Catoosa initially reopened its doors in early May after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced the plan to begin reopening the state and lessening restrictions on all non-essential businesses.

"Seating was marked only to permit sitting within the six foot guidelines, all doors were open to allow access without the touching of doors, and attendees were asked to enter in a social distancing manner and were dismissed in a formal manner as well to ensure that the social distancing measures were adhered [to] by all," the spokesperson said.

And in Texas?

Houston, Texas, church Holy Ghost Parish followed suit after reportedly experiencing a similar uptick in COVID-19 infections.

In a statement, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston said that the church — which began holding services just weeks ago — closed its doors in an effort to eradicate the spread of coronavirus.

The decision followed the death of one of its leaders, Father Donnell Kirchner, 79. Kirchner reportedly died after contracting the deadly respiratory illness.

The archdiocese said, "Although the parish had followed cleaning, sanitation, and social distancing guidelines prescribed by state health officials since reopening on May 2nd, they determined that at that time it was best to close the Church immediately to public Masses."

"This past weekend," the statement continued, "five of the seven members of the Redemptorists religious community learned that they had tested positive for COVID-19, including two priests who had been active in celebrating public Masses at Holy Ghost since May 2nd. As a result of these findings, all Masses at Holy Ghost Church remain cancelled until further notice."

“While the Redemptorists currently residing at Holy Ghost are asymptomatic, they, and the other members of the community, are in quarantine in the residence isolated from the others," the statement added.

At the time of this writing, researchers at Johns Hopkins University estimate that there have been at least 38,855 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Georgia, as well as 50,552 cases across the state of Texas.

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