DC church rector who gave Communion and shook hands with worshippers has coronavirus

Health officials are asking anyone who was at the Christ Church, Georgetown on February 24 or between February 28 and March 3 to self-quarantine.

(CNN)Hundreds of worshippers at Christ Church, Georgetown are being asked to self-quarantine after the church rector became the first confirmed Covid-19 case in Washington, DC.

The church's organist also tested positive for the virus Monday evening, according to church parishioner Rob Volmer.
The Rev. Timothy Cole is hospitalized, Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a press conference Monday, referring to the man as "patient one."
"As of late last night, DC Health is recommending that anyone who visited Christ Church, Georgetown, either on February 24 or between February 28 and March 3, self-quarantine themselves at home for 14 days since the last time they visited the church," Bowser said.
    Some 550 people attended the four services in which Cole took part, and he gave Communion at one of them, according to Volmer, who said he's been a parishioner at the church for 25 years.
    The 200-year-old church has suspended all services and meetings until further notice.
    Speaking with CNN's Brooke Baldwin, the Rev. Crystal Hardin, assistant to Rector Cole, said physical contact is a part of the church's services, but Cole "was taking his own precautions" because he was recovering from a cold and aware that coronavirus "was probably coming our way."
    "We are a church and we are a very friendly community, a very loving community," Hardin said. "There are ... built-in practices to our liturgy that we love and hold dear and that do involve physical contact."
    She said the church had been following guidance from its diocese and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on hand washing and limiting physical contact.
    Volmer said Cole spoke for about five minutes at one of the services about the need to frequently wash hands, and there was "Purell everywhere."
    "I think that we did the best we could under the circumstances," Hardin said. "And Father Tim was obviously doing the best that he could as well."
    The priest is in "stable condition and seems to be in good spirits," she said.
    The organist "is currently and will remain in self quarantine at his residence," Volmer wrote in an email to CNN.
    Hardin said she's in self-quarantine, doesn't have any symptoms and hasn't had any contact with Cole since last Tuesday.
      "We're keeping in contact with them, and telling them to do what they do best, which is to take care of themselves and love their neighbors," she said. "Check on those most vulnerable, make sure that we are getting the word out, and just keeping the faith, because God is with us, even in the midst of this."
      As of Monday, there are more than 680 cases of Covid-19 across 35 states in the United States, and 26 people have died.