Public health official concerned over large church gathering

ASHLAND, Ore. — A public health official says he’s concerned, after a church in Ashland appeared to host a large Christmas service without social distancing or masks.

The Story – Ashland allegedly held a service with dozens of people sitting closely and singing.

The church shared videos of the large service online through social media.

It has since deleted the videos and switched its account to private.

Jackson County Public Health Officer, Dr. Jim Shames, says if people want to slow down the spread of the virus, sacrificing social gatherings needs to happen.

“We have had large outbreaks in religious organizations in the valley, already. I’m talking, 30-40 cases spread across the state from stuff like that [service],” said Dr. Shames.

Dr. Shames says community spread is 100% guaranteed when people gather in large groups and aren’t wearing masks or distancing.

He encourages people to find alternative ways to share their beliefs and spirituality.

NBC5 News reached out to the church for comment but did not hear back.

NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology. In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she's not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.
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