After testing positive for COVID-19, Sandi Patty posted a video urging fans to take the pandemic seriously; to avoid in-person social gatherings, including church; and to wash their hands.
“This is not fake news. This is real. This is everything they say it is, and we’ve got to take it seriously,” Patty said, currently quarantined with her husband in their home in Oklahoma City.
Her caption on Instagram read, “If you are not already practicing social distancing and STAYING HOME, DO SO NOW! This is what we can all do. This is how we stop the spread. God has given us faith, but he’s also given us wisdom.”
The 63-year-old Christian singer had been feeling sick after weeks of travel, was tested Monday, and received her diagnosis on Tuesday.
So far, state officials have reported 29 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma.
Known for hits such as “We Shall Behold Him,” “Love In Any Language,” and “More Than Wonderful,” Patty now serves as artist in residence at Crossings Community Church. She said she was grateful she has stayed away from others at church while sick and applauded the congregation for moving its Wednesday and Sunday services online.
Many churches have similarly replaced traditional services with video messages or digital gatherings, following state or local restrictions or the White House recommendations to avoid gathering in groups bigger than 10.
Most churches have complied with the guidance. Some that continued to meet in person last Sunday, including Robert Jeffress’s First Baptist Dallas, will move to online-only this week.
At least one governor, Andy Beshear of Kentucky, has called on religious groups to cancel their worship services.
“I don’t believe whether you go to church during this period of time is a test of faith, I believe God gives us wisdom to protect each other and we should do that,” Beshear, a Democrat, said March 11.
The White House has not made any statement about the defiance of the minority of churches that continue to gather in person.
Although guidelines for faith communities posted on the CDC website currently do not specifically call for a moratorium on all faith gatherings, they do discuss “modifying, scaling back, postponing, or canceling large group activities and events (e.g., religious services and community outreach programs), especially for high-risk groups like the elderly.” The agency also recommended Sunday against gatherings of more than 50 people.
“Do your part,” Patty reiterated in her video. “God has given us faith, but he’s also given us wisdom. This is a time to use your wisdom.”
With reporting by Jack Jenkins of Religion News Service via the Associated Press