Deacon Matthew Newsome tested positive for Covid-19 Saturday morning (Oct. 17) after noticing a loss of his sense of smell the previous day. He is otherwise doing fine and will be isolating at home with his family for the next two weeks. No one else in his family is experiencing symptoms at this time.
Fr. Paul Asoh and Deacon John Szarek have also been tested as a precaution. Both tested negative for the coronavirus. From an abundance of caution, however, we will be cancelling public Masses this week, Oct 17-24. Masses will resume with the 7:00 pm Vigil Mass on Saturday, Oct. 24.
The exposure to the parish is limited to those who attended daily Mass on Thursday and Friday (Oct. 15-16), at which Deacon Matt assisted. Those to whom Deacon Matt distributed Holy Communion have been contacted. Following parish protocols, Deacon Matt wore a mask and sanitized his hands prior to Mass, immediately prior to distributing Communion, and in between each communicant. The pews in the church are routinely sanitized after each Mass.
Deacon Matt is the Catholic campus minister at Western Carolina University. He will be working remotely from home for the next two weeks, and out of an abundance of caution, on-campus Masses are being cancelled for the next two Sundays.
If anyone has further questions or concerns, they may contact the parish office at 828-586-9496. We invite you to review the protocols in place at the parish to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus on our website.