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Allen County Health Department orders houses of worship closed

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - Church activity in Allen County is to be suspended at midnight by order of the health department.

Details from health officials are as follows:

In order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in the community, the Health Commissioner is prohibiting church gatherings in Allen County, including those held in non-church venues.

The order was issued Saturday in response to health officials learning some local congregations were still hoping to gather in small, separated groups of 10 for bible study or modified services. The order, effective Sunday, March 22 at 12:01 a.m., states no gatherings with an aggregate total of more than 10 individuals in a church building is permitted.

“While we understand people are still in need of spiritual guidance during these difficult times, we need to be sure everyone grasps the importance of social distancing and avoiding any non-essential gatherings,” said health commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan. “We need the whole community’s cooperation in slowing the spread of COVID-19 to a pace that allows our healthcare systems to provide essential medical care to the expected growing number patients who will contract the virus in addition to all other patients they serve on a regular basis.”

The order is effective until April 11 at 11:59 p.m. or until it is extended, rescinded, superseded or amended in writing by the Health Commissioner.

The full order can be found at www.allencountyhealth.com/covid-19.

Jonathan Shelley

Jonathan Shelley is the news director at WPTA TV, which he joined in 2016 following nine years in a similar role in New Orleans and previous news management positions in Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

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