Priests, staff member at Pleasantville church test positive for coronavirus

Two priests and a staff member at Holy Innocents Catholic Church in Pleasantville have reportedly tested positive for coronavirus, leading health officials to ask hundreds of parishioners who were potentially exposed to quarantine for 14 days.

The priests gave out holy communion to hundreds of parishioners at multiple masses, including first communion ceremonies last week.

“I just want to remind people that we are going into a holiday weekend,” said Dr. Sherlita Amler, the Westchester County Health Commissioner. “It's a time when people want to get together with their families and friends, but if you’re someone who's been told to quarantine, this doesn't mean you go out and have a nice time with your neighbors and friends, this means you should not expose anyone else.”

The morning masses on August 24 and 26th, first communion ceremonies and all masses on August 29, and all masses on August 30 are the dates where parishioners may have been exposed to coronavirus. 

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Moreover, because of the first communion ceremony, the Pleasantville and Mount Pleasant School Districts are getting involved as well. Days before the start of school for both districts, the same priest who tested positive gave holy communion to dozens of second-graders.

“The hybrid model, you've all read about it, you've all reported on it. Involves a lot of technology and we are going to put it to use next week,” said Mary Fox-Alter, Superintendent for the Pleasantville School District. “Families that are quarantined can join classes live and still participate in the opening of school.”

Now, the Westchester County Health Department is teaming up with nearby Phelps Hospital to make sure anyone who attended the services can get tested beginning Saturday through Monday at a drive-thru testing center. Even upon receiving a negative coronavirus test, people are expected to quarantine for the next two weeks.