St. Paul church to temporarily close after volunteer tested positive for COVID-19

The church has been collecting donations of supplies for in-need families.
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A church in St. Paul has temporarily closed its site immediately after one of its volunteers tested positive for COVID-19.

Bethel Lutheran-The-Midway has been taking donations of food and supplies in the wake of the recent civil unrest, and had not yet reopened for in-person worship amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

But it has been forced to shut down its giving operation after a volunteer, who was only on site for one day, was confirmed as having the virus.

It'll close until further notice while all of its staff gets tested, while a professional cleaning service will do a "top-to-bottom deep clean of the site," it announced Monday morning.

"While Health Department guidelines note that as long as the individual was asymptomatic for over 48 hours after being present, we do not need to notify and/or shut down, we feel we have too many bodies on site to continue without taking action," it said.

"We will ensure the families already lined up at our gate this morning do not leave hungry, but will recommend any donations, volunteers, or community members needing distribution go to Twin Cities Mutual Aid to locate the nearest site to redirect to."

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The Midway area of St. Paul was among the areas hit particularly hard during the recent unrest, with multiple businesses and organizations suffering property damage, looting, and fires.

The rules for church services will change again on Wednesday, and will be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity with a maximum 250 people indoors.

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