Rev. Timothy Cole, Rector of Christ Church in Georgetown, revealed he fell victim to COVID-19 in an email to his parishioners over the weekend.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser recommended anyone who visited the church on either February 24 or between February 28 through March 3 must self-quarantine for two weeks, The Georgetowner reported.
In the early-morning email, shared Sunday, Cole wrote: “I can now confirm that I am the individual [in Washington, D.C.] who tested positive for the coronavirus.
“All services and meetings at Christ Church have been suspended until further notice in response to a presumed positive case of coronavirus in our community.”
Cole started feeling sick after an Episcopal conference in Louisville, Kentucky, on February 22, said church spokesman Rob Volmer.
But as symptoms appeared to dissipate, Cole attended church events in Georgetown.
He attended four church services consisting of approximately 550 people on March 1.
Cole tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday, just three days after getting diagnosed with the flu and being admitted to Georgetown University Hospital.
His email continued: “I want to assure you that I will be okay. I am receiving excellent care and am in good spirits under the circumstances. I will remain quarantined for the next 14 days as will the rest of my family.
“We did not make the decision to close our doors lightly, but out of an abundance of caution for the most vulnerable among us … There is no need to panic.
“Following sensible precautions provided by the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] will go a long way towards insuring the good health of our community.”
The D.C. government advised church parishioners who came within six feet of Cole to self-quarantine.
“Isolating at home includes not going to work or school, and not attending any large or public gatherings, or using public transportation or ride-sharing,” DC Health said in a Monday statement.
According to The Georgetowner, Cole’s symptoms consisted of a runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, and a high fever.
His symptoms are the same as the ones identified by the CDC – which are normal for both COVID-19 and the flu.
There have been 22 coronavirus deaths in the US.
(The US Sun)