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'Keep the faith, just stay safe' | Religious leaders urge continued use of virtual services as more counties turn red in state's COVID-19 alert system

NCDHHS updated the COVID-19 county alert system Tuesday, showing nearly two-thirds of the counties in red.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Editor's note: The video above is a county alert system update from November 18.

More counties on the state's county alert system turned red in the latest update, causing officials to urge more caution as we continue through the holiday season. 

Tuesday's update showed 65 red counties, 27 orange counties, and 8 yellow counties. 

The state's COVID-19 clusters report breaks down where clusters of cases are popping up around the state. 

Clusters that stem from religious gatherings saw a spike back in October. Those trends came down some shortly after, but the chart is showing a slight increase around Thanksgiving. 

State officials and religious leaders encouraged the continued use of virtual and creative ways to stay connected while apart during holiday services.

RELATED: NC COVID-19 Blog | 92 of North Carolina’s counties are in ‘red’ or ‘orange’ alert on COVID County Alert System map

Religious leaders in the Triad have found ways to do that through virtual services and other creative ideas.

"I have to be honest when we first went into our online sanctuary, I did not think we would be here in December. However, as the months progressed and around about the summer I spoke to our church leadership and I said to them, I vividly remember saying to them we need to look at being in this online sanctuary through 2020," said Pastor Amos Quick from Calvary Baptist Church in High Point.

Quick said this time away has been difficult for many, especially when they're used to being so close. 

"The church is a community. Every church becomes a family and every church has a social aspect to it. It is difficult for us not to get together," said Quick.

Quick said in addition to virtual services, the church is holding daily prayer calls at 6 p.m., much like a conference call, to engage their members. 

"We have members and non-members. We have people who join us. Some of our church members encourage their children to get on," said Quick, "So we have members children in Boston, Atlanta, Columbia, South Carolina." 

Quick is encouraging everyone to stay safe this holiday season, so people can come together again soon. 

"Keep the faith. Just stay safe," said Quick. 

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