Chicago Archdiocese suspends physical contact during sign of peace, holy water fonts amid COVID-19 outbreak

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago is announcing changes in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

There will be no physical contact during the sign of the peace, or the Lord's Prayer.

Holy water fonts are being temporarily suspended, along with the wine cup at Communion.

WATCH: How to properly wash your hands
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Dr. Mark Loafman, chairman of Family Medicine at Cook County Health, explains the proper technique and duration for washing your hands to prevent the spread of illnesses. Scrubbing should continue for at least 20 seconds, which happens to be the amount of time it takes to hum the"Happy Birthday" song twice.

The Joliet Diocese announced similar measures last week.

The changes are based on guidance from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Divine Worship and are effective immediately.

Priests are also required to wash their hands before Mass begins and use hand sanitizer before and after Communion.

The diocese reminded churchgoers that it is OK not to attend Mass if they are feeling ill.

The University of Chicago Medical Center is admitting a suspected case of COVID-19, the hospital said. There are four confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, with the most recent two cases being a husband and wife.

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The University of Chicago Medical Center is treating a suspected case of COVID-19, the hospital said..

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