JANESVILLE

Members of Nativity of St. Mary Catholic Church were asked to isolate themselves this week if they had prolonged, close contact with their former pastor.

The Rev. Rob Butz told church members in a letter Monday that relatives who visited him had found out that they had been in close contact with someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Butz wrote that he got tested and isolated himself, and test results later came back positive for the coronavirus. He said he would continue isolating for 10 more days.

On Tuesday, a letter from the church secretary urged anyone who had been closer than 6 feet from Butz for 15 minutes or more to isolate themselves for 14 days.

A note attached to Butz’s letter states that the church was working with the Rock County Public Health Department, and anyone concerned about exposure to the virus should call the health department at 608-757-5440 for guidance.

Butz had transferred to St. Christopher Catholic Church in Verona starting Saturday in a move that had been announced weeks before he tested positive.

The church secretary’s letter reads, in part: “We know many of you are concerned about the potential exposure to the coronavirus following the announcement that Fr. Rob has tested positive.”

The letter goes on to say that the health department advises anyone with prolonged exposure to Butz from July 7-10 should quarantine themselves for 14 days starting the day after the contact.

The letter noted a going-away gathering for Butz was held July 5 and said that although that event was not in the exposure time frame, it is recommended that those who attended monitor themselves for symptoms and limit public interactions.

A call to the Diocese of Madison spokesman was not immediately returned.

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