A person afflicted with the novel coronavirus attended a Mother's Day church service in Butte County, California, exposing 180 church congregants to the virus. According to a statement released by Butte County Public Health, the person was not aware they had COVID-19 until the day after the service when they received the lab-confirmed test results. Those who attended the service have been notified and received a directive on how to quarantine themselves properly.
Danette York, the Director of Butte County Public Health, warned that any organizations determined to hold in-person services are putting the health of their congregants and the general public at risk. York also added that a consequence of furthering the spread of the virus would only inhibit the state's ability to reopen.
"Moving too quickly through the reopening process can cause a major setback and could require us to revert back to more restrictive measures."Butte County Public Health slammed the unnamed church for its decision to hold the Mother's Day service, accusing them of causing a "financial burden" on the health care system.
Butte County is currently one of the many California counties that have been authorized to move forward into Stage 2 of the reopening plan, according to Fox News. However, the second stage still does not allow for any large gatherings, which will likely not be permitted until Stage 3 or beyond.
CNN reported that the church in question, which was not named, defied Gov. Gavin Newsom's stay-at-home order, which prohibits any large gatherings of any kind. Despite the restrictions, the church chose to hold a service on May 10.
"If the Governor's order is not followed, these types of decisions may jeopardize BCPH's ability to respond adequately to prevent the spread of COVID-19," said the statement issued by the county's health officials.
As of Sunday afternoon, California has seen over 3,000 deaths and currently has at least 78,800 active coronavirus cases.
"The incident highlights the ongoing tug-of-war between some religious organizations and public officials as they work to slow the spread of the coronavirus," noted CNN.
Many churches and religious groups have opted to continue holding in-person services in direct defiance of their states' stay-at-home orders. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Louisiana Pastor Tony Spell has famously defied orders to practice social distancing or ask his congregants to wear masks.
Spell even refused to limit his services to 25 percent capacity, which CNN said would have allowed him to resume services in agreement with the law as Louisiana begins their own reopening.