A Jefferson City church has announced adjustments in its service schedule after members tested positive for COVID-19.
Concord Baptist Church Pastor Monte Shinkle informed parishioners Wednesday that three positive COVID-19 cases had been reported among church members.
"It's a very fluid situation," Shinkle said. "It came out of our youth department. No one is hospitalized."
The first positive case was reported Monday, the second Tuesday and the third Wednesday.
"Don't be surprised if there are more," Shinkle said.
As a result, Shinkle wrote to church members, "we are forced to hit the pause button and, in fact, rewind some things."
Shinkle said 40 young people met last Wednesday in area isolated from the rest of the church.
"Things were going so well, but this will set us back," Shinkle said. "We went slow in reopening and hadn't had any positive cases reported until now."
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Changes for the church, located on West Truman Boulevard, include:
- Cancelling vacation Bible school scheduled for next week.
- Suspending Children's Church.
- Closing the nursery.
- Suspending on-campus prayer meeting and on-campus Sunday School classes until further notice.
- Celebrate Recovery not meeting this week.
- Suspending choir and orchestra until further notice.
Worship services Thursday and Sunday are still scheduled to take place, Shinkle said. They will not register attendees but will take people's temperatures at the door. Pews will be marked off to help with 6-foot physical distancing. They will encourage but will not require use of face masks.
Last week First Assembly of God in Jefferson City announced a member had tested positive for COVID-19.
The church made several changes, including having three Sunday morning services to help with social distancing and having no Sunday school, nursery or additional activities throughout July, according to a post on the church's website. The church is continuing to stream services so people can watch from home.
Cole County Health Department officials said several pastors and churches in the county reached out to the department about recommendations for services after earlier COVID-19 rules were loosened.
The recommendations were based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. For faith-based organizations, those recommendations include cleaning frequently touched surfaces, making sure hand-sanitizing products are readily available, and implementing social-distancing measures that include reduced activities and canceling large gatherings.
As of Wednesday, Cole County has confirmed 102 total cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Twenty-one cases remain active; 79 patients have recovered, and two have died.
This article was updated at 5:10 p.m. July 8, 2020, with new information.