District of Columbia Priest Tests Positive for Coronavirus, 550 People Attended Services

March 9, 2020 Updated: March 9, 2020

A priest in Washington tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, according to officials.

Christ Church Georgetown spokesman Rob Volmer said that Rev. Timothy Cole, who tested positive for the mysterious new virus that emerged in mainland China in late 2019, attended three services last Sunday that were attended by about 550 people in total, reported local news outlet WUSA9.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser recommended that anyone who went to the church between Feb. 24 and March 3 self-quarantine for 14 days, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines.

She wrote those visitors “could’ve been exposed to COVID-19, and DC Health recommends that anyone who visited on those dates isolate themselves at home for 14 days from the last time they visited the church.”

Bowser said the patient is currently being monitored and treated at Washington-area hospital.

In the meantime, as reported by WKBN, Christ Church Georgetown has suspended all services, meetings, and other activities in the wake of the diagnosis.

“We look at where they’ve traveled, where they have visited, who they may have been exposed to, the ages of the people who they may have been exposed to,” said Dr. Anjali Talwalkar, the Deputy Director for the D.C. Department of Health, referring to potential COVID-19 cases.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever, cough, or shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. They appear between two and 14 days after exposure.