Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said during a Friday press conference that churches that continue to hold services are putting people’s lives at risk.
“Churches that continue to meet and gather with elderly and putting groups of people in the same setting, quite frankly, they’re risking people’s lives,” Lee said during an update on the COVID-19 outbreak in Tennessee. “There are ways to worship and there are ways to serve without congregating people, and I’m urging and challenging churches to do just that.”
Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s office announced Friday that the city’s chief medical director will soon issue a public health advisory for churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples. The advisory will urge “all faith organizations to refrain from physically meeting to adhere to CDC social distancing guidelines,” according to a press release.
Cooper met with faith leaders Friday afternoon to discuss the advisory and organize “a weekend of prayer across Nashville’s faith communities.”
“Lastly, I encourage you to pray. I want you to pray for your citizens that are affected by economic downturns, by the sickness sweeping through the state,” he said. “I want you to know that you’re being prayed for as leaders in your community that you will have wisdom and discernment.”
Several faith organizations across the state have suspended their services for the time being and moved to hosting events online.
As of Friday afternoon, Tennessee had tested 613 individuals and received 228 positive results for the coronavirus. Almost half of the cases are in Davidson County, which had 101 confirmed cases as of Friday.
Additionally, the 21-30 age range has the highest number of confirmed cases with 72 positives, followed by the 31-40 age range at 47 positive cases.
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