D.C. Reverend Gave Communion Before Coronavirus Diagnosis

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 18: A priest serves communion during Mass on Ash Wednesday at St. Patrick's Catherdral on February 18, 2015 in New York City. Ash Wednesday is the holy day that marks the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period in the Christian calendar that leads up to …
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

A Washington, D.C., church rector is the city’s first confirmed case of the coronavirus, the house of worship announced on Sunday.

Reverend Timothy Cole of Christ Church Georgetown was diagnosed on Saturday evening and is currently in “stable condition,” Reverend Crystal Hardin, Cole’s assistant, said at a news conference. Hundreds of visitors were exposed to Cole at the Episcopal church in recent days, according to the Washington Post, as Cole served communion and shook attendees’ hands.

“I can now confirm that I am the individual who tested positive for the Coronavirus,” Cole, who has served as rector since 2016, told CBS News via email. “First, I want to assure you that I will be okay. I am receiving excellent care and am in good spirits under the circumstances. I will remain quarantined for the next 14 days as will the rest of my family.”

Services were canceled “out of an abundance of caution for the most vulnerable among us,” Cole added. The closure, this past Sunday, is the church’s first since a fire in the 1800s.

On Monday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser suggested recent visitors of the church should self-quarantine themselves.

“We know that whether we meet here in person on a Sunday morning or whether we meet in spirit not one of us is alone because we have each other. We firmly believe that we are held in God’s embrace through it all,” said Bowser. “We are praying for all those affected, all those who are in fear and all of the medical professionals and researchers and community members who are trying to find solutions.”

“Most people if they take the precautions recommended by the CDC, which can be found on their website, will remain in relatively good health,” she added. “We just need to make sure we’re doing what we can to protect the most vulnerable.”

Over 100 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in 32 states. 22 people have died due to the illness that originated in Wuhan, China.

Editor’s Note: The featured photo on this article was taken at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on February 18, 2015 in New York City. No individuals in this image are involved in this particular medical case, and the church denomination of St. Patrick’s is Catholic, not Episcopalian; the photo choice is illustrative rather than literal.


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