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Church With 71 Coronavirus Cases Fires Back After Health Officials Say Members Defied Stay-At-Home Order

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A Sacramento church is firing back after health officials said it's members have defied the stay home order, resulting in 71 of them testing positive for coronavirus.

As CBS13 reported Thursday,  the Sacramento County Health Department said members of the Bethany Slavic Missionary Church continued to meet in small groups despite the stay home order.

The church sent us a long statement, saying reports in the media were inaccurate and that it didn't condone any in-person gatherings outside of the church. The statement also accuses the media of inviting hatred and violence against the church community.

READ ALSO: About One-Third Of Sacramento County Coronavirus Cases Linked To Church Gatherings, Health Officials Say

The statement reads in part: "These reports are believed to be inaccurate and falsely place emphasis on this church. The church did not condone any church-related in-person gatherings... media repetition of such unfounded representations invite ridicule, hatred and violence..."

In response, the Sacramento County health department is doubling down on its initial statement, claiming multiple sources have told them church members continue to meet in homes. The department also said in no way does it condone hatred or violence.

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