Nashville bishop suspends Sunday mass in Middle Tennessee until April 3

Posted at 3:37 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 16:37:57-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The bishop of Nashville has suspended the celebration of Sunday Mass until April 3 in Middle Tennessee amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 70 people have confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the state as of Tuesday.

Bishop J. Mark Spalding said the suspension may be extended if necessary. The bishop also canceled all other gatherings within the Middle Tennessee Catholic community.

Weddings, funerals and baptisms may take place, but the bishop said people of the diocese will be asked to limit attendance of these events to immediate family only.

Catholic schools in the Nashville diocese, which covers all of Middle Tennessee, will also be closed through April 3.

Read the bishop's full letter to the diocese here.


See all our coronavirus coverage here


What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.


The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.