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Local Churches Deal with COVID-19

As COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Cambria County, the faithful have had to decide whether to worship from church or at home.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard reports, as of Sunday at noon, Cambria County has doubled their total number of cases in two weeks and has reported 37 more deaths.

That’s why Monsignor David Lockard of Saint Michael Catholic Church in Sidman says he’s seen less people going to church this year than ever before.

“I think a lot of the older people are just afraid to come out in public for church,” he said.

Monsignor said a few weeks ago their masses shut down for a couple of weekdays as he awaited a COVID-19 test, which eventually came back negative.

“I feel we’re very lucky that we haven’t had to shut down more than that,” he said.

Although, other churches in the area haven’t been so lucky.

The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown closed two churches over the weekend due to pandemic concerns.

A priest at Saint Benedict Parish in Johnstown has tested positive for COVID-19, so all masses and activities have been cancelled until further notice while the church is sanitized.

The Diocese also says all masses and activities at Holy Family Parish in Portage have been cancelled until further notice after an employee there tested positive.

6 News reached out to both of those churches and have not heard back.

While Monsignor Lockard says he understands it only takes one person to turn everything upside down, he credits his parishioners for staying safe.

“Here, total cooperation. People wear their masks. They pretty much social distance all they can. They use the hand sanitizer. That certainly does help for us to keep open,” he said.

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