Local churches feeling impact of COVID-19 rise

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By WVUA 23 News Reporter Aajene Robinson

Over the past seven days, Alabama has seen a 41% positivity rate among those who have tested for COVID-19, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 Dashboard. Those numbers do not include results from at-home COVID tests.

As of Tuesday, Jan. 11, the seven-day average for people testing positive for COVID-19 in Tuscaloosa County is 2,102, representing 42.9% of administered tests.

With numbers that high, residents are finding everyday life activities being severely affected or put to a halt. One population holding strong and taking precautions while still doing everything they can to get together? Church-goers.

Elizabeth Baptist Church Pastor Vernon Swift said his church is taking safety precautions so they can keep the doors open.

“A large number of medical doctors attend here, and Sunday morning they would always caution the congregation on how to be safe,” Swift said. “So we practice being safe. We do not congregate. We open all the doors and after every service, the church is sanitized and sprayed down.”

Over at Liberty Baptist Church, Pastor William McDowell said social distancing, wearing masks and keeping hand sanitizer available is a huge part of their safety protocols.

“Those are the things we are doing to help prevent the virus from being spread within the church,” McDowell said.

Closing up shop isn’t in the cards, no matter what happens, he said.

“We have not talked about that because in times like these people are going through so much and being in the house of God is where our help, our strength and healing is at,” McDowell said.

For those who aren’t comfortable attending in person, many churches including Elizabeth Baptist and Liberty Baptist are also offering their services online.

Others, including Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, are swapping to online-only services.

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