Nearly 200 People Told of Possible Exposure at Church Service That Violated Stay-at-Home Order

May 18, 2020 Updated: May 18, 2020

Health officials in California notified nearly 200 people that they might have been exposed to the CCP virus at a recent church service held in violation of the state’s restrictive stay-at-home mandate.

Over 180 people attended the Mother’s Day service at a church in Butte County north of Sacramento, the county health department said.

One of the attendees received results the next day showing they tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

That person is isolated at home. Officials found people who attended the service and notified them of their exposure, according to a press release from Butte County Public Health.

Besides being instructed to self-quarantine, a term that means isolating oneself at their home, people were told how to monitor themselves for symptoms, how to contact health officials, and what to do if they start to show symptoms.

The new virus, which emerged in Wuhan, China, last year, causes symptoms similar to the flu. Symptoms include fatigue, fever, headache, and aches and pains.

Health officials said they’re working with healthcare partners to test every person who attended the church service.

“At this time, organizations that hold in-person services or gatherings are putting the health and safety of their congregations, the general public and our local ability to open up at great risk,” Danette York, the county’s public health director, said in a statement.

“We all need to do our part to follow the orders and mitigation efforts so that our Reopen Butte County plan can continue to move forward. Moving too quickly through the reopening process can cause a major setback and could require us to revert back to more restrictive measures.”

Gavin Newsom
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at his daily news briefing at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services in Rancho Cordova, Calif., on April 9, 2020. (Rich Pedroncelli/Pool/AP Photo)
Epoch Times Photo
Pastor Jerel Hagerman conducts a drive-in ‘car church’ Easter service in the parking lot of Joshua Springs Calvary Chapel amidst the coronavirus pandemic in Yucca Valley, Calif. on April 12, 2020. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The Epoch Times couldn’t contact the church in question because officials haven’t identified the congregation.

Under Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s March 19 stay at home order, gatherings of any size are barred.

Phase two of Butte County’s reopening plan doesn’t ease that harsh restriction.

Loosening the limit on gatherings “may be considered as we move forward to stage 3 in the future,” Butte County health officials said in the release before again castigating the church.

“Despite the Governor’s order, the organization chose to open its doors, which resulted in exposing the entire congregation to COVID-19. This decision comes at a cost of many hours and a financial burden to respond effectively to slow or stop the spread of” the disease, the department said.

Butte County has a population of nearly 220,000. Twenty-two CCP virus cases have been confirmed. No deaths linked to COVID-19 have been recorded by county officials.

Newsom has been sued by a number of churches over his order, arguing the ban violates “fundamental rights” protected by the U.S. and state Constitutions. One pastor part of one of the suits, Rev. James Moffatt, a pastor in Riverside County, was fined $1,000 for holding a service.

Judges have sided with the state. U.S. District Judge John Mendez last week said plaintiffs didn’t prove that state and city officials targeted the church apart from violating the law, writing the orders “are permissible exercises of emergency police powers especially given the extraordinary public health emergency facing the State.”

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