Eight members of Ider Church of God have tested positive for the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, according to the church pastor.
Pastor Ben Young shared on the church Facebook page that the congregants had gotten their test results after developing symptoms.
“These are precious Christian believers of God. When they thought they possibly had the virus, all took immediate action to separate themselves to keep it from spreading, as well as those who were exposed. They are all quarantined at their homes,” Young said.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) COVID-19 dashboard, there are 254 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in DeKalb County and three deaths. There have been 55 new cases in the last 14 days and 1,879 hospitalizations since March 13. The presumed cases at the church may or may not yet be included in these figures, which are updated daily. Statewide, there are 18,354 cases – 5,717 in the last 14 days -- and 288 additional “probable” but not yet confirmed cases of infection. There have been 649 deaths statewide.
“I want to remind these precious people and all born-again believers that God is for us, Jesus is with us, the Holy Ghost is in us, and angels are camped all around. I want to advise us all to remember the Golden Rule in Matthew 7:12, ‘Whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them’,” Young’s statement continued.
Efforts to reach the church by phone on Tuesday were unsuccessful.
On March 19, Gov. Kay Ivey issued public health orders suspending certain public gatherings, applicable to all Alabama counties, prohibiting gatherings of 25 or more people. She amended a Safer at Home order to be applied statewide on Friday, May 22 to include church services.
ADPH offers guidelines for places of worship, advising churches to maintain at least six feet between people of different households. Guidelines also recommend discontinuing the passing of items among attendees and disinfecting any items that come into contact with attendees.
“The virus that causes COVID-19 is still circulating in our communities. We should continue to observe practices that protect everyone, including those who are most vulnerable,” the guidelines read.
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus cases. Symptoms including fever, coughing and shortness of breath may appear between two to 14 days after exposure.
Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions like asthma, chronic lung disease, diabetes, liver disease, heart conditions or weak immune systems, may be at higher risk for more serious complications. This is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors.
The Times-Journal will update this story as new details become available.
To learn more, read https://alabamapublichealth.gov/covid19/assets/cov-sah-worship.pdf