Ross said services were closed on Friday after learning that one of the members present tested positive for the virus. The member showed no symptoms, but was tested when several of his colleagues tested positive, according to the pastor.Over the weekend dozens more got sick, Ross said, adding, “I have sick church members everywhere. ”
“We knew what we were getting into,” he said. “We knew the possibilities. ”
Ross said only the cases of two members were serious and that as of Sunday no one had been hospitalized, although many said they had fever, headaches and breathing problems.
He said some social distancing measures were in place during services, which were held several times a day, and most members skipped events out of concern for the virus. Those who were present sat down with their own families. Masks were not needed, the newspaper reported.
“We let everyone do what they felt. … If you were comfortable shaking hands, you would be hand shaking. Otherwise, you didn’t, ”the pastor said.
The church is located in a small community called Strawberry, about 60 miles north-east of Birmingham.