13 WV Counties Have Reported Outbreaks in Churches

08/14/20 According to the ongoing COVID-19 updates provided by West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, 13 counties have now reported outbreaks directly related to church events throughout the state of West Virginia including counties Boone, Grant, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Jefferson, Kanawha, Logan, Marion, Marshall, Ohio, Raleigh, Taylor and Wood.

Cases were reported to those respective counties within the WV Department of Health and Human Resources. On Thurs., Aug. 13, and Fri., Aug. 14, the positivity rate in WV increased to 3.51%, and 3.10%, respectively, which more than doubled from the well-under 2% just a few days earlier. 148 new cases were reported on Thursday and 173 new cases were reported on Friday for the entire state of West Virginia. Officials are awaiting new data and statistics as of this article post.

Governor Justice addressed the public in a briefing noting, “We’ve absolutely got to stay on top of this with all in us. Please know that the church setting is the ideal setting to spread this virus. We absolutely don’t need to be losing these great West Virginians.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has published an article recommending best practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19 at this link How to Protect Yourself & Others. Those practices include the basic criteria mostly everyone has heard before including social distancing, mask wearing and wand washing, etc.

St. Matthew United Methodist Church in Weston, WV has started a Relaunch Team that has been in an ongoing process of consulting local health department officials, the WV Conference of the United Methodist Church, the CDC and the Governor’s Office for guidelines, help and assistance in establishing ongoing operations, procedures, strategies, etc. for a re-launching plan.

However, given the circumstances surrounding the recent results from area counties, this is certainly a challenge for any church organization.

While re-launching church is a “must-need” event that will happen, St. Matthew encourages all members that God is with us and that means inside AND outside of the boundaries of church walls. While it may seem customary and routine to sing and worship within church buildings, it is also just as important, or perhaps, more important, that church happen outside of those walls–in an effort to spread the word of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.