Diocese of Lansing introducing tactics to prevent spread of germs

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LANSING, MI. (WILX) -- Since its most recent outbreak in February, the coronavirus is making itself more apparent across the country.

Now it's becoming a problem not only with the state of Michigan but with the church as well.

"You have many people gathered together to pray and give worship," said David Kerr, a spokesperson for the Diocese of Lansing. "We have to make sure that is done in the safest way possible."

The Catholic Diocese of Lansing, with more than 70 churches in ten counties, has been in touch with local and national health officials to learn how to keep their parishioners safe.

"Create some distance between people...you know that six-foot distance...we're clearly not six feet apart generally in a church setting or a lot of congregate settings," said Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail.

"Any parishioner that feels sick--for whatever reason--is dispensed of the obligation to attend Holy Mass on a Sunday," said Kerr.

Healthy parishioners still able to attend mass might see some changes in a service, like doing away with the traditional handshake or hug for the sign of peace.

Some parishes are even temporarily stopping using wine for communion.

But it's all for nothing if you're not washing hands, covering coughs, and keeping hands away from faces.

"We would have remarkable effectiveness cutting down on the cases that we see if people would really follow those preventative measures," said Vail.

"Led by the best advice from the public health authorities, we'll make sure that we continually revise and review that advice to make sure that both Catholics and all people of Michigan are kept safe," said Kerr.

Kerr says the Diocese plans to meet Wednesday to discuss their plans to keep parishioners safe.

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