Responding to a confirmed COVID-19 case on its campus, the Church of God International Offices has shut down its three-building campus through the Fourth of July holiday.
In a related development, Westmore Church of God officials have confirmed 12 cases of the virus within that church's congregation.
Learning Thursday of an employee who tested positive for the coronavirus, Church of God International Offices officials closed the complex Friday, and they will remain closed for the next two weeks, according to Cameron Fisher, communications coordinator for the denomination's global headquarters.
In the interim, sanitization procedures that were already in place throughout the campus will continue, Fisher advised after receiving an inquiry from the Cleveland Daily Banner on Friday.
Fisher confirmed the employee works in a department on the third floor of the World Evangelization Center, which is one of the trio of office structures on the complex which is located at the corner of Keith and 25th streets.
An official statement from the Church of God International Offices, as released to the Banner by Fisher, reads:
“On Thursday, June 25, leaders at the Church of God International Offices learned of an employee who tested positive for COVID-19. The employee worked in a department on the third floor of the World Evangelization Center, one of three buildings on the campus.”
The statement added, “Out of an abundance of caution for the health and welfare of the International Offices family, the offices closed on Friday, June 26, and will remain closed through the July 4th weekend. Sanitization procedures that were already in place across the campus will continue.”
Closing, the statement stressed, “The plan is to resume regular hours on Monday, July 6.”
Fisher declined to elaborate on additional information such as the employee’s physical condition, whether the employee is asymptomatic, whether the employee is under quarantine at home or is hospitalized.
The statement also did not include any additional details on the employee’s proximity to other workers during the period leading up to the positive test result.
Fisher said church officials will provide updated information in the event further developments occur.
On Friday, Westmore Church of God Lead Pastor Kelvin Page announced that 12 members of the Westmore family had tested positive for COVID-19.
The announcement was made on the church’s social media page.
In addition, Page said that several additional church members were not feeling well and were awaiting test results, which will not will be learned until Monday or thereafter.
Due to spikes in local infection rates, Page said the church will adjust its worship schedule.
“We feel that the prudent thing to do is step back and adjust our service approach over the next two Sundays,” he said.
As a result, the June 28 and July 5, Sunday 10 a.m. services will be available online only. The ministry center will remain closed through July 11. In addition, there will be no Sunday evening or Wednesday night services.
Page said the church will “open up on some level on July 12."
The Banner will provide additional information on these Church of God developments as it becomes available.
The Church of God International Offices announcement, as well as the Westmore Church of God developments, have come as the latest updates for Bradley County have been released. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, Bradley County’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose to 444 on Saturday, representing an increase of 14 since Friday. Of those 444 cases, TDH has recorded 310 recoveries, which is up six from Friday, and 131 active cases, which is an increase of eight since the day before.
To date, TDH has recorded three COVID-19 deaths in Bradley County. A suspected fourth case in Bradley has not yet been confirmed. According to TDH officials, COVID-19 deaths are confirmed once a death certificate has been received.
Also, in Bradley County, TDH reported 5,670 negative tests which is up by nine since Friday.
At the state level, TDH has confirmed, as of Saturday, a total of 40,172 COVID-19 cases, 26,159 recoveries and 584 deaths.
Confirmed case totals for Bradley County neighbors include:
• Grundy: 59 cases, 44 recoveries and 1 death;
• Hamilton: 2,321 cases, 1,417 recoveries and 29 deaths;
• Marion: 57 cases, 43 recoveries and 4 deaths;
• McMinn: 203 cases, 148 recoveries and 17 deaths;
• Meigs: 32 cases, 26 recoveries and 0 deaths;
• Monroe: 118 cases, 90 recoveries and 4 deaths;
• Polk: 38 cases, 29 recoveries and 0 deaths;
• Rhea: 262 cases, 237 recoveries and 0 deaths; and
• Sequatchie: 24 cases, 19 recoveries and 0 deaths.
Counties with Tennessee's highest numbers of cases include:
• Bedford: 482 cases, 333 recoveries and 5 deaths;
• Bledsoe: 616 cases, 611 recoveries and 1 death;
• Davidson: 8,675 cases, 5,770 recoveries and 110 deaths;
• Knox: 878 cases, 553 recoveries and 5 deaths;
• Lake: 691 cases, 687 recoveries and 0 deaths;
• Montgomery: 438 cases, 177 recoveries and 7 deaths;
• Putnam: 735 cases, 582 recoveries and 7 deaths;
• Robertson: 751 cases, 451 recoveries and 11 deaths;
• Rutherford: 2,362 cases, 1,070 recoveries and 34 deaths;
• Shelby: 9,139 cases, 6,110 recoveries and 182 deaths;
• Sumner: 1,318 cases, 553 recoveries and 51 deaths;
• Trousdale: 1,476 cases, 1,366 recoveries and 5 deaths;
• Williamson: 945 cases, 481 recoveries and 14 deaths; and
• Wilson: 725 cases, 396 recoveries and 16 deaths.
According to Johns Hopkins University, as of Saturday afternoon, 2,492,246 individuals in the United States have tested positive for COVID-19, with 125,340 deaths and 670,809 recoveries.
Globally, 9,871,711 individuals have tested positive, resulting in 495,781 deaths and more than 5,415,353 recoveries, according to Johns Hopkins.