D.C. officials are urging the hundreds of people who attended Christ Church in Georgetown, Virginia on Sunday to self-quarantine after Reverend Timothy Cole tested positive for the coronavirus. The Episcopalian church rector is the first confirmed case in the District, according to the Washington Post.
Mayor Muriel E. Bowser asked the some 500 people who’ve worshipped at Christ Church since March 1 to spend the next two weeks in isolation if possible, in Washington’s first broad self-quarantine order. Cole shook hands and served communion during the Sunday service, and is currently in stable condition at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.
Anjali Talwalkar, senior deputy director for the community health administration at the D.C. Health Department, said people who came within six feet of Cole in the last two weeks of February and the first week of March are at “medium risk.”
“That is when our case was symptomatic, so anybody who was potentially exposed during that time, out of caution and best practices for disease control, that’s the recommendation,” Talwalkar told reporters.
Cole had not been traveling overseas. Experts say he may have caught the coronavirus while attending a conference of Episcopal leaders in Louisville, Kentucky. The CDC is in contact with conference organizers.
On Facebook, Reverend Crystal Hardin confirmed the news to Christ Church members and announced that all services would be temporarily canceled.
“Above all else, we know that whether we meet in person or in spirit, not one of us is alone while we have each other,” she wrote. “And, we firmly believe that we are held in God’s embrace through it all. Praying without ceasing for all affected, for all in fear, and for all who are working to find solutions.”