Emily Allen Published

W.Va. Health Department Reports More Than 20 Active Church Outbreaks

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reported 23 church outbreaks across 17 counties Wednesday.

Between these places of worship, at least 270 West Virginians have contracted the coronavirus and not yet recovered, according to the DHHR.

The largest active outbreaks are in Kanawha, Raleigh, Monroe, Mingo and Wood counties, the latter of which has more than 40 COVID-19 cases linked to one church.

Other active outbreaks have been reported in Cabell, Fayette, Hardy, Jefferson, Logan, Marion, Jackson, Preston, Taylor, Tyler, Wayne and Wyoming counties.

During a virtual press briefing Wednesday, Gov. Jim Justice urged West Virginians to wear face coverings indoors, to social distance and take advantage of alternatives to in-person services.

“If you can get your services online, and you choose to not go at this point in time, it’d probably be wise,” Justice said.

Since March, when West Virginia first began responding to the coronavirus pandemic through a now-rescinded stay-home order, various places of worship have adapted by offering virtual and outdoor services.

Emily Allen is a Report for America corps member.