There are now 14 confirmed cases of the H1N1 Influenza Virus, more commonly known as swine flu, in Connecticut. And while the spread of the virus seems to be slowing down, Catholic churches in the state are still ordering parishioners to take precautions.
The Archdiocese of Hartford is recommending temporary "no-contact" policies for Mass in the weeks to come.
That means, no "peace be with you" hand shakes or hugs. Instead, people are encouraged to spread their grace with a smile or a nod. Parishioners will also be receiving Communion in their hands, rather than on their tongues.
The recommendations were outlined in a April 30 letter from Archbishop Henry J. Mansell. A spokesman for the diocese said the precautions will remain in effect until the flu threat is over, but it is ultimately up to the pastor of each individual parish.
The good news is that all of the confirmed cases of swine flu in Connecticut have been mild. No one who has tested positive for the virus has required hospitalization and no deaths have been attributed to it in the state.