Nation's capital and region hit by coronavirus outbreak

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Posted at 5:45 AM, Mar 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-09 05:45:06-04

WASHINGTON - The nation's capital and its surrounding area was dragged into the coronavirus outbreak over the weekend as a prominent Episcopal church in Washington, D.C., suspended all activities when one of its senior leaders was identified as the first person in the city to test positive for the virus.

The Rev. Timothy Cole, the rector of Christ Church Georgetown, was in stable condition after being hospitalized Saturday night.

In an email to parishioners obtained by CBS News, Cole confirmed he has tested positive, and said services were suspended "out of an abundance of caution for the most vulnerable among us." All services were canceled Sunday, the first time the church has closed since a fire in the 1800s, Hardin said.

"I can now confirm that I am the individual who tested positive for the Coronavirus," Cole wrote in his email. "First, I want to assure you that I will be okay. I am receiving excellent care and am in good spirits under the circumstances. I will remain quarantined for the next 14 days as will the rest of my family."

The D.C. Department of Health said in a statement that it has been in contact with the church and "determined an individual's visitation to Christ Church Georgetown warrants precautionary measures." The department recommended "a temporary pause of services" and said it was "conducting an intensive investigation to identify any exposures to COVID-19 that may have occurred at the church," referring to the virus.

There are more than 107,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide and 460 in the United States, according to CBS News. Cases have been confirmed in 32 states and the District of Columbia.

Meanwhile, Maryland reported two new cases on Sunday, raising to five the total of confirmed cases in the state. Virginia has reported its second case.