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COVID-19 has led to the deaths of 13 nuns at a convent in Livonia in the last three months, religious officials report.

A dozen members in the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice, or Felician Sisters, died after battling the virus between Good Friday on April 10 and May 10, while a 13th associated death was reported on June 27, according to the Global Sisters Report released Monday. The nonprofit outlet is a project of the National Catholic Reporter publishing company.

The Detroit Catholic, another publication that covers the Catholic community in southeast Michigan, reported that as many as 22 sisters at the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent had tested positive for the coronavirus through early May.

The nuns at the 360-acre campus, who ranged in age from 69 to 99, included teachers, a librarian and a secretary in the Vatican Secretariat of State, the Global Sisters Report said.

Meanwhile, at least 19 other sisters have died in the United States during the pandemic, according to the article, which said the Livonia deaths “may be the worst loss of life to a community of women religious since the 1918 influenza pandemic.”

Representatives with the Felician Sisters of North America did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

In a statement released July 8, Sister Mary Christopher Moore, the order’s provincial minister, said another older Felician sister had recently died “due to the residual effects of the coronavirus, which can cause continuing difficulties with other chronic medical conditions."

"Some of our Sisters who have had COVID-19 are struggling to recover from a variety of effects, including continuing weakness, respiratory issues and more," Moore said. "We ask for your prayers as we support them in their recovery. At the same time, we are moving forward with slowly loosening the tight restrictions under which Sisters in our convents, especially our larger convents, have operated for more than three months.”

News of the nuns' deaths comes as coronavirus infections rise in Michigan.

State officials on Monday confirmed seven deaths and 489 cases. The seven-day average of new coronavirus cases in the state has risen to 632 daily, up from 476 a day for the previous seven-day period, according to state data.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has tracked 74,152 positive cases and 6,126 deaths tied to COVID-19 since the virus was first detected in the state in March. When probable cases are included, the tally reaches 82,395 cases and 6,373 deaths. 

Michigan ranks seventh for the most COVID deaths among the states and 13th for cases, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins University.

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