By Emily Allen
The most recent string of COVID-19 outbreaks linked to places of worship has led to roughly 75 West Virginians testing positive for the coronavirus over the last couple of weeks.
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources said it is tracking outbreaks related to seven churches in Kanawha, Boone, Logan, Raleigh, Grant, Taylor and Wood counties.
This is not the state’s first bout of church outbreaks. Earlier this summer the DHHR reported smaller outbreaks in Ohio, Marshall, Hampshire, Marion and Jefferson counties. In June, more than 40 worshippers at the Graystone Baptist Church in Ronceverte, Greenbrier County, tested positive for the coronavirus. One member died.
“We want to encourage everyone to still have online services if possible, but we are going to lend our support to the churches,” said Dr. Ayne Amjad with the Bureau for Public Health during a virtual press briefing Monday. “If you’re going to still meet, then we want to offer our support to them [places of worship], and encourage face shields.”
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