The coronavirus may have spread during a church service. Now the pastor is talking

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A Butte County pastor, who challenged public health officials and organized a face-to-face service for Mother’s Day, which potentially exposed 180 devotees to the coronavirus, expressed his decision on social media.

In a Facebook article on Friday, Pastor Mike Jacobsen of the Palermo Bible Family Church said that an asymptomatic worshiper who attended the May 11 service woke up the next morning “in need of medical attention” and was tested. for the coronavirus that day. The faithful received positive test results for COVID-19 two days later.

Jacobsen, who with his wife has been running the Pentecostal church since 2008, said in the message that he would “never endanger anyone [sic] way. “

“For 7 weeks, we were kept away from our church and away from our church family,” wrote Jacobsen in the post, which has since been deleted. “I am fully aware that some people may not understand that it is essential for our church to be together in communion.”

Contacted by phone on Sunday evening, Jacobsen confirmed that his church was the site of a possible contagion, but declined to comment immediately on the situation, saying he needed some time to think it over before making a statement.

Without naming the church, Butte County health officials issued a warning to residents on Friday asking them not to speed up the reopening process. Officials said it had been brought to their attention that nearly 200 people could have been exposed to the coronavirus through the Mother’s Day service.

“Right now, organizations that organize in-person services or rallies are jeopardizing the health and safety of their congregations, the general public, and our local ability to open up,” said Danette York, director of health. county government in a statement urging residents to follow home stay orders.

Local health authorities try to inform everyone who attended the service and ask them to self-quarantine. They are also working with health care partners to get tests for all participants, the statement said.

Butte County is one of 22 counties which has certified to the state that it meets the conditions for the reopening of additional businesses. But rallies of any size are banned, even in counties that reopen faster than the rest of California.

“Advancing too quickly in the reopening process can cause a major setback and could force us to revert to more restrictive measures,” said York.

Jacobsen spoke about his decision to open the church on Mother’s Day on Wednesday during a Bible study on Facebook Live.

Jacobsen said it is important that the many young and new believers in the Palermo Bible are supported in their emerging faith – and part of that is being able to go to church in person. He compared the act of depriving these worshipers in person of removing “a child from his mother’s arms.”

“We really tried to raise the bar and do a good job with what was given to us,” said Jacobsen about virtual services, “but it’s not the same as being together in fellowship. the ones with the others. “



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