Monroe County: Growing number of COVID-19 cases linked to houses of worship

Monroe County: Growing number of COVID-19 cases linked to houses of worship Photo: MGN Online.

Updated: September 19, 2020 03:19 PM
Created: September 17, 2020 03:57 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Monroe County Department of Public Health says it’s seeing a growing number of COVID-19 cases that could be directly or indirectly connected to houses of worship.

"Over the past month or so we've counted at least 70 cases if COVID-19 in Monroe County that are connected to individuals who regularly go to church, or have been in close contact with a family member, a co-worker or a friend who does," Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said.


Dr. Mendoza says they have not seen the same COVID-19 connection with synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship, though all are facing similar public health challenges.

The department is asking communities of faith to review best practices for services, including mask-wearing at all times, six feet social distancing, putting markers on the ground, blocking off every other row of seating and encouraging frequent hand washing and sanitizing.

The department says many faith communities have also done the following:

  • Avoiding buffet or family-style meals.
  • Limiting physical contact such as shaking hands, hugging or kissing.
  • Increasing social distancing to 12 feet when singing, dancing or playing wind instruments.
  • Using pre-recorded music, or replacing choirs with soloists or small groups of musicians.
  • Asking staff and congregants to stay home if they are sick or have had close contact with an individual infected with COVID-19.
  • Implementing best practices for nursery/childcare services, volunteer duties and cleaning and disinfection during the pandemic.

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