SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A person attending Saturday’s diaconate ordination at the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist in Savannah has tested positive for COVID-19.
According to an advisory issued by the Diocese of Savannah, the person was seated with the ordained permanent deacons. He received a call immediately after the ceremony from the Department of Health advising him that he had tested positive.
The Diocese says that every person who was at the ordination has been notified, and anyone who thinks they may be infected has quarantined themselves and has been tested.
“Significant precautions were taken before, during and after the ceremony to mitigate the risk to anyone in attendance,” the advisory said. “This person is not believed to have come in direct contact with anyone during the rite. Those who were in close contact with the individual in the days prior to Saturday have already been contacted by the Health Department and are scheduled for tests.”
Rev. Daniel Firman says the cathedral was 25 percent full during the ceremony and that they have been recommending everyone wear face coverings. It is not a requirement.
“We’ve made sure that people are aware … if you come, you’re opening yourself up possibly [to exposure] and you’re opening others up possibly,” he said.
Firman says the cathedral was sanitized after the ceremony and he is now waiting for the results of the COVID-19 tests.
“If we continue to work with the Health Department and help them monitor what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, I think we’ve acted responsibly,” said Firman.
The obligation for Catholics to attend Sunday Mass is still suspended through Sunday, June 28. The Diocese asks any parishioners who are high-risk or feeling ill to stay home.
Parishes have been instructed by the Diocese on how to worship safely. That includes limiting capacity to 25 percent, reducing the amount of singing during services, and sanitizing surfaces.
“We ask everyone to take whatever precautions they deem necessary to feel safe during the crisis,” the advisory said.
The cathedral is also still live streaming services for those who wish to stay at home.