Atlanta Archdiocese updates its precautions against the coronavirus

The Archdiocese of Atlanta has expanded its response to the coronavirus, after two people were diagnosed with the illness in Fulton County Monday.

The updated recommendation calls for omitting the exchange of peace and asked that people not touch each other during this part of the mass. Generally, parishioners hug or shake hands with people around them.

»THE LATEST: Complete coverage of coronavirus in Georgia

The memo, from Bishop Joel M. Konzen, the Atlanta archdiocesan administrator, also requested that ministers of the Eucharist use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately before distributing communion.

“We will continue to withhold communion from the chalice for the time being,” said the memo to  priests, deacons, nuns, chancery staff, partner agencies and parish leaders. “We are not issuing a directive eliminating Holy Communion on the tongue at this time, but pastors may want to suggest parishioners receive only in their hands in light of the heightened concern of random transmission and the likelihood that more people will be affected in Georgia.”

RelatedAre fears about the coronavirus affecting church services?

MoreGeorgia students quarantined as colleges halt some study abroad classes

Parishioners, staff and students are advised to stay home if they are not feeling well. He cited continuing concern about the flu as well as the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

In the Georgia cases, those affected include two members of the same household, identified as a father and son.

RelatedGeorgia father and son test positive for coronavirus

MoreKit glitch slows coronavirus testing

One of the people had recently returned to Georgia from a trip to the  Italian city of Milan, according to Channel 2 Action News and stae health officials.

The virus has infected nearly 90,000 people worldwide.

More than 90 confirmed cases of the disease have been reported in the U.S.

Nine people have died of the coronavirus in the Seattle area.