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Parishioners told to self-quarantine after 2 priests test positive for coronavirus at Pleasantville church

The county is urging parishioners to self-quarantine for two weeks after their date of exposure, even if they test negative.

News 12 Staff

Sep 5, 2020, 11:53 AM

Updated 1,354 days ago

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Hundreds of parishioners are being asked to self-quarantine after three people from a Pleasantville church tested positive for coronavirus.
Westchester is urging about 400 people from Holy Innocents Roman Catholic Parish to quarantine for two weeks after two priests and a church staff contracted the virus.
According to Westchester County, both priests distributed communion in recent days.
According to the church's website, anyone who attended morning mass on Aug. 24 and Aug. 26 must quarantine for 14 days regardless of a negative coronavirus test from their last visit to the church.
Parishioners who attended first communion ceremonies on Aug. 29 and any mass on Aug. 30 are also being asked to quarantine.
The church released a statement, saying in part: "Ever since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been following every safety protocol that has been required and we will continue to do so." The statement also says the church will do its best to keep everyone informed about any new information.
Marash Palushaj went to get tested for COVID-19 at Phelps Hospital in Sleep Hollow after possibly being exposed at the church.
"I was sitting in the back and everyone sits kind of far apart—very far apart—and everyone's wearing all their protective equipment and stuff, so minimal contacting," he says.
Palushaj adds that he hasn't experienced any symptoms yet.
The Westchester County Department of Health partnered with Phelps Hospital to specifically test parishioners like Palushaj to get ahead of the virus' spread within the church.
The hospital is open to offering more free testing if there are other cases of exposure, in addition to its daily testing for essential workers.
Jeff Meade, the assistant vice president of operations of Phelps Hospital, says, "It's just a question of ramping up and expanding our testing when there's a need to help the health department do their contact tracing and their contact precautions."
The county is urging parishioners to self-quarantine for two weeks after their date of exposure, even if they test negative.
County officials say anyone who attended masses will be able to use drive-thru testing sites at Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Holly this weekend and Monday between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
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