West Nyack church parishioners may have been exposed to the coronavirus

Clarkstown Town Supervisor George Hoehmann told News 12 that approximately 160 to 220 people may have been at St. Francis of Assisi when a staffer was sick with COVID-19.

News 12 Staff

Nov 18, 2020, 5:18 PM

Updated 1,288 days ago

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Parishioners who attended two separate Masses at a West Nyack church may have been exposed to the coronavirus.
Clarkstown Town Supervisor George Hoehmann told News 12 that approximately 160 to 220 people may have been at St. Francis of Assisi when a staffer was sick with COVID-19.
The possible exposure would have occurred during the 10:15 a.m. and noon Masses on Nov. 8.
So far, officials say they haven’t heard of any cluster of positive COVID-19 cases, but it is important that people be notified so they can check in with their doctors.
Sources showed News 12 a letter that was sent to parishioners from the reverend who tested positive.
It says in part, "My Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I am writing to inform you that yesterday I received a positive result on a COVID-19 test. I began exhibiting symptoms late at night on Sunday, Nov. 8 and self-quarantine began immediately upon the development of symptoms."
The church uploaded video of a Nov. 8 service on YouTube where church staffers are seen wearing masks aside from when speaking at the podium.
Hoehmann says the church has been operating at 33% capacity as required by the state. "Typically I'm told at Masses over at St. Francis, they're anywhere from 80-110 people. The occupancy of the church I think is about 1,200 - the full facility."
He says his team routinely checks in on houses of worship and that St. Francis has been up to par with mask wearing, social distancing and disinfecting. He's a member of the church, and says the number of parishioners has been under the 33% threshold.
The county Department of Health is urging those who were there on Nov. 8 to call their doctor to determine if they should quarantine.
Mary Beth Maloney is a parishioner at the church, and she says she plans to continue attending services because St. Francis has been following the COVID-19 guidelines mandated by New York state. "It's important to me, and I know other parishioners, that we have that right to go through practice our religion. So we're just really thankful that our parish and our community does all the things they need to to keep us all safe."


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