A priest in Washington, D.C., who reportedly gave communion and shook hands with more than 500 people at a church has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Reverend Timothy Cole of Christ Church, Georgetown identified himself as a confirmed novel coronavirus patient in a letter to congregants this week. He reportedly received the diagnosis about a week after he participated in Sunday services attended by around 550 people on March 1, including one service in which he helped distribute Holy Communion.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Mayor Muriel Bowser said Rev. Timothy Cole is hospitalized, referring to the man as “patient one.”
He also asked members of the church who visited Church either on February 24 or between February 28 and March 3, to self-quarantine themselves.
“As of late last night, DC Health is recommending that anyone who visited Christ Church, Georgetown, either on February 24 or between February 28 and March 3, self-quarantine themselves at home for 14 days since the last time they visited the church,” Bowser said.
Rev.Cole also released a statement on Monday to address the situation.
“As we said before, we did not make the decision to close our doors lightly, but out of an abundance of caution for the most vulnerable among us,” Cole said. “There is no need to panic. Following sensible precautions provided by the CDC will go a long way towards ensuring the good health of our community.”
“I can now confirm that I am the individual who tested positive for the coronavirus,” he said.
He added that he will “be okay” and is “receiving excellent care.”
The church announced on Monday that all services and activities have been suspended until further notice.