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Churches, schools prepare for possible threat of coronavirus

CDC warns mass gatherings may need to be cancelled as the virus spreads in the U.S.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee —

The novel coronavirus is under the microscope at UT Health Science Center, while doctors research inside churches and schools ready their classrooms and congregations.

The CDC warns mass gatherings may need to be cancelled as the virus spreads in the U.S. Mid-South churches and schools are preparing.

"Literally, this morning a member called and said ‘hey what are we going to do about the coronavirus?’" said Derrick Anderson, the executive pastor of Brown Missionary Baptist Church.

Missionary Baptist Church in Southaven is preparing to keep these pew rows safe amid the coronavirus, the infectious disease spiking death tolls globally.

"We have online worship so people can view all of our services online," said Anderson.

Anderson says their church leaders have a strict policy of staying home if they feel sick. The church is closely monitoring mission trips abroad. 

"We had a couple of staff people going to China actually, and so we've had to readjust their schedule for that," commented Anderson. Including members in Africa.

"We have two church teams in Ghana so we're monitoring not just there where our mission teams go but anywhere they're going to make sure that it's a safe environment or that they can be protected wherever they're going," shared Anderson.

Meanwhile Shelby County Schools released a statement saying in part: "With Spring Break approaching and more families likely to be traveling, SCS is making sure our schools have accurate facts from the SCHD about how the virus is spread and recommended steps for prevention."

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This, as the UT Health Science lab where COVID-19 is being researched on works to find a cure. UTHSC is one of only 14 secured biocontainment labs in the country.

"So this is a massive operation that does screens compounds and drugs against certain viruses," said UTHSC Pediatrician-In-Chief Dr. Jon McCullers.

The Catholic Diocese of Memphis is also preparing and said they are "listening closely to local, state and federal officials on any specific requirements going forward." The diocese also sent out a note to clergy members to stay home from mass if you are infected.

In about 2 weeks, UTHSC will hold a symposium with the health providers about coronavirus.

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