Churches in Texas and Georgia close indefinitely after many test positive for virus following long-awaited reopening

Parishioners wear face masks as they file out of an in-person Mass at Christ the King Catholic Church in San Antonio, Tuesday, May 19, 2020. San Antonio parishes that have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic have began opening their doors to in-person services. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Eric Gay, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Two churches have been forced to indefinitely suspend service after many congregants and leaders tested positive for COVID-19 following the reopening, Washington Post reports.

Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Houston and Catoosa Baptist Tabernacle in Ringgold, Ga. are closed once again.

Holy Ghost Catholic Church reopened on May 2, welcoming 179 attendees into its 900-seat building, the church states.

Since then, two priests and three members of the church’s Redemptorists religious community have since tested positive for COVID-19, the church released in a statement.

On May 13, Holy Ghost Church priest Donnell Kirchner, 79, passed away from unknown causes.

On May 18, it was announced all masses at Holy Ghost Church are canceled until further notice.

Following its state’s lead, Catoosa Baptist Tabernacle resumed in-person services on April 26, just days after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp allowed places of worship to reopen, according to the Post.

After several families who attend Catoosa Baptist Tabernacle tested positive for the coronavirus, the church made the decision to suspend service.

According to the Post, around 25% of the church’s members attended the reopening service.

According to the church, it is reclosing as an act of “extreme caution,” the Post reports.

“Our hearts are heavy as some of our families are dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 virus, and we ask for your prayers for each of them as they follow the prescribed protocol and recuperate at home,” the church said in a formal statement, according to the Christian Post.

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