76 Franciscan nuns test positive at monastery in Germany

International

Exterior view of the monastery of the Franciscan Order in Thuine, Germany, Tuesday, Dec.1, 2020. Church authorities say 76 Catholic nuns have tested positive for COVID-19 after an outbreak of coronavirus at a Franciscan convent in northwestern Germany. Another 85 nuns received negative test results at the monastery in Thuine, not far from the Dutch border, the convent’s Mother Superior told The Associated Press on Tuesday. (Friso Gentsch/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — Seventy-six Catholic nuns have tested positive for COVID-19 after an outbreak at a Franciscan convent in northwestern Germany, church authorities said Tuesday.

Another 85 nuns received negative test results at the monastery in Thuine, not far from the Dutch border, the convent’s Mother Superior told The Associated Press.

“We are grateful that so far nobody is in the hospital,” Sister Maria Cordis Reiker said.

Local health authorities put the the entire monastery under quarantine late last week after the first cases of coronavirus were discovered there. Most Catholic nuns in Germany are elderly women because convents have had difficulties for decades recruiting young women for their cause.

Reiker said they were still waiting for the test results of the 160 non-clerical employees of the monastery, including nurses working at the monastery’s old people’s home, and others working at the monastery’s kitchen and wash house.

The nuns also run a boys’ boarding school and several other schools including a vocational school.

“We don’t know how things will continue regarding our schools, it’s all still in flux,” she said.

She said local health and school officials were in touch with the schools.

Overall in Germany, 13,604 more people tested positive over the last 24 hours and 388 others died of COVID-19, the country’s national disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute, reported.

While the number of new virus cases among younger people is decreasing in Germany, it’s going up among older people, the institute said.

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