Members of a Calgary church ravaged by COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic are sharing their stories of grief and healing, after Alberta’s chief medical health officer cited them as a cautionary tale.
“I had the opportunity recently to talk to a faith leader whose faith community gathered together in mid-March before many of our public health measures were in place,” Dr Deena Hinshaw said Thursday. “The congregation had a worship service and then gathered together for a celebratory social event. There were only 41 people present, and they were careful to observe two meter distancing and good hand hygiene. They followed all the rules and did nothing wrong. ”
Despite that, 24 of the 41 people at the party ended up infected. Two of them died.
Rev. Shannon Mang is the minister of Living Spirit United Church.
“One of our most beloved members was having a very important birthday and we wanted to celebrate that,” Mang said of the post-service celebration. “Under the circumstances, we thought we were going to be safe. We were very diligent about physical distancing, very diligent about hand hygiene.”
— CTV Calgary (@CTVCalgary) May 11, 2020