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Pastor speaks out after churchgoer tests positive for coronavirus

Group gatherings are not allowed by Governor Gavin Newsom's stay-at-home order.

Posted: May 17, 2020 6:04 PM
Updated: May 19, 2020 9:21 AM

PALERMO, Calif. -- UPDATE: May 18, 2020, 6:15 p.m. :  A church in Palermo is now facing community backlash after holding a Mother's Day service. 

Action News Now's Vanessa Romo went to the pastor's house on Monday morning and he said he is in self-quarantine and has nothing more to say. However, he spoke about the service this past weekend on Facebook Live. 

"It was never my heart to put our church in harm’s way. It’s never been my desire," said Pastor Mike Jacobsen. "They didn’t feel sick in anyway, zero symptoms, they didn’t feel symptoms afterwards, but they did test and they did test positive, but they didn’t do it intentionally." 

The Butte County Public Health Department says one person tested positive for COVID-19 just one day after going to a Palermo Bible Family Church on Mother's Day. Over 180 people attened that service. 

"I would love to be going places because that’s what we do. We’re social people, but we got to be cautious and for this to happen, it’s like, 'ahhhh did they really do this," said Palermo resident Ernestine McCullough. 

The Butte County Health Department says several attendees have tested negative for COVID-19. It is unclear how many tested and if any tested positive. 

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A church in Palermo held a Mother's Day service on May 10 and days later the pastor and Butte County Public Health shared one of the attendees tested positive for the coronavirus.

Butte County Health Officials said the service saw over 180 people and they have been notified about the possibility of exposure.

Now, the PBFC Church pastor is speaking out saying "it is essential to be together in fellowship".

RELATED: Butte Co. Public Health investigation underway after religious congregation exposed to COVID-19 on Mother's Day

"An individual tested positive for it," said Pastor Mike Jacobsen. "They didn't feel sick in any way."

The pastor said he did not intend to put the church in harm's way and that the person who tested positive, did not come to the service meaning to infect those who also attended.

Group gatherings are not allowed by Governor Gavin Newsom's stay-at-home order.

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