How church during COVID turned deadly: 91 infected, 2 dead in Ohio after attending a service

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Parishioner in Columbus wears a mask during mass on August 5 after deadly outbreak. Credit: Columbus Dispatch

Gov. Mike DeWine said in a press briefing [August 4] that [a] worshiper attended a service at an undisclosed church in mid-June, triggering community spread to 91 others across five counties in the state.

‘It spread like wildfire, wildfire. Very, very scary,’ DeWine said.

‘We know that our faith-based leaders want nothing more than to protect those who come to worship.’

This comes as the state grapples to bring the pandemic under control, with infections surging to almost 100,000 and more than 3,500 Ohioans so far killed by the virus.

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The severity of conditions of the 91 infected was not disclosed by the state.

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DeWine urged people attending church and worship services to follow coronavirus safety precautions and wear masks.

‘Our religious faiths are at the core of our great state and country. We thank our faith-based leaders all they do to serve God and His people,’ he tweeted.

‘However, it is vital that to control the spread of the virus that any time people gather together, including for religious services, that everyone wear masks, practice social distancing, wash hands, and also while indoors, making sure there is good ventilation and airflow.’

The governor is sending a letter to churches, synagogues, mosques and members of the faith community to provide guidance on ways to better protect worshipers.

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