People in Live Oak hold "Park and Pray" outside Suwannee Health and Rehab Center

Posted at 11:11 PM, Apr 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-13 10:33:39-04

LIVE OAK, FL (WTXL) - — Many essential workers have stayed-on-the-clock during the coronavirus pandemic, including in Suwannee County.

Close to 70 people there have tested positive for COVID-19. The Health Department said more than 50 of them are connected to the Suwannee Health and Rehab Center, with about 30 people still waiting for test results. It's why dozens of people spent their Easter parked across the street, hoping the power of prayer can help them get through this tough time.

Live Oak churchgoers parked a safe distance away from the nursing home but close enough that they'd still be able to see their flashing lights, to show those across the street that they're thinking about them.

"We're here for them and while we have to be distances socially that doesn't mean we have to be spiritually," said Orchard Community Church Co-Pastor Chip Parker. "We just want to let them know that we're in this together, so when they see our cars and our lights, just be reminded that we're here praying for them."

Kathleen Parnell said it's a way to show the community they care.

"We've got people in there we love and care about as well so we just want to show some support," said Parnell.

Parnell said, in a small town, acts of kindness like this is just what you do for each other.

"My daughter has four or five classmates are actually working there they graduated from nursing school together so you know I've been praying for them but I've been praying for all of you got employees going in and working long shifts," said Parnell.

"I'm worried for them," said Mount Olive Baptist Church Pastor Wally Weaver. "We watched the numbers go up. For so long, we didn't have anybody in the county and then...it just reminded us how easily this could happen if you're not real, real careful."

Weaver said he hopes, with faith, they'll all be okay.

"We've got their back and we're praying that this is over soon and everybody will get out of it in good shape," said Weaver.

This is the third "park and pray" event so far.