NewsCovering Kern County


Some SoCal churches alter services amid mounting coronavirus concerns

Posted at 10:28 AM, Mar 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-01 13:33:20-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — One day after the first reported death in the United States from coronavirus, multiple Southland churches implemented significant changes to worship services to help prevent the spread of the deadly infection.

The COVID-19 virus prompted the dioceses in San Bernardino County to warn parishioners of modifications to weekly mass. The changes, which were announced Friday, informed churchgoers that the dioceses were working to keep services safe by encouraging the faithful to refrain from holding hands during prayer and share the sign of peace held at the beginning of mass without making physical contact, as well as bans on communion by cup and receiving the bread from hand to mouth

The dioceses serving Orange and Riverside counties issued similar statements.

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However, not all Catholics will see changes during mass. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles issued a statement to its clergy on Thursday, stating that it won't issue any restrictions but encouraged "vigilance and discretion" and to use "common sense and good hygiene."

Gov. Gavin Newsom provided an update Thursday to the state's response to coronavirus. Officials say there are 33 confirmed cases currently in California, but officials reiterate the risk to the public remains low.

RELATED: Coronavirus: Gov. Newsom says Calif. is prepared for first COVID-19 case with unknown origin

There are more than 8,400 people in the state who are being monitored in 49 different jurisdictions after arriving on flights from Asia, state health officials said.

Health officials confirmed a new case of novel coronavirus in Northern California on Saturday.

The new case was confirmed in Santa Clara County. The county's health department says this is their fourth case.

There have been no reported cases of coronavirus in San Bernardino County.

However, Orange County's first case of novel coronavirus was confirmed in January. The infected person was a traveler from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the virus.

Meanwhile, dozens of people are quarantined inside their homes in Riverside County due to potential coronavirus exposure, according to Riverside County Public Health.

RELATED: 54 people in Riverside County self-quarantine as concerns over outbreak grow

Health officials say none of the 54 residents have been diagnosed with coronavirus, but they are self-monitoring for symptoms.

Officials say the residents will spend the next two weeks in isolation. It is unclear where the residents live in the county.