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Madeline Island church cancels in-person worship as COVID cases climb

LA POINTE, WI -- A church on Wisconsin's Madeline Island is moving back to worshipping entirely online as COVID cases in the area are rising.

St. John's United Church of Christ made the announcement Thursday, saying the change will go into effect on Sunday, August 1.

Church officials pointed to federal health guidelines for in-person gatherings and guidance from the Wisconsin Council of Churches.

“These are not actions we wanted to take. But after careful consideration, we agreed unanimously that we needed to act to protect our community,” said Debbie Knopf, chair of the church board. “The health
and safety of our people is our most important responsibility

The St. John’s board will meet weekly to review the COVID-19 situation and determine the next steps.

La Pointe's Town Administrator says there have been five new cases of COVID reported on the island in the last week.

Ashland County has reported 15 new cases since July 20.

Bayfield County has reported 9 confirmed cases since Friday, July 23, and seven probable cases in that same time frame.

According to state data, 52 percent of La Pointe residents have at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.

La Pointe town leaders are working with their Chamber of Commerce to create a flyer, encouraging people to take the proper COVID safety precautions like wearing masks in public.

The town administrator says other businesses are also making adaptations with the recent rise in cases.

Some restaurants are now offering limited service.

Briggs LeSavage

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