03:19 GMT30 October 2020
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    As of 17 September, Kootenai County, where the pastor resides, has registered 2,400 cases of the novel coronavirus, while 33 people have died from the disease, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention data shows.

    Senior pastor at Candlelight Christian Fellowship in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Paul Van Noy contracted COVID-19 about two weeks ago, and now is coping with the disease in an intensive care unit, church representative Eric Reade was quoted by Spokesman-Review as saying. He added that the pastor's wife Brenda Van Noy is recovering from the coronavirus at home.

    "Having been in the ICU now for 11 days…and counting, I am really starting to turn the corner—for the better. They tell me it will be a few more days in ICU and then I will move back to a regular room for a couple of days and then to recover at home", Paul Van Noy said on Monday, as quoted by the church website. "At present, I feel ok but still need quite a bit of oxygen support—especially if and when I try to get up out of the bed."

    Five other members of the church staff have also become infected, the news outlet reads. According to Eric Reade, church staffers do not know how the couple contracted the virus. The church has been closed for two weeks and reopened on Sunday after "deep cleaning", Reade added.

    The clergyman is known for discouraging congregants from wearing a mask while attending services at the 1,200-member church, saying in July that masks can be worn but are not required despite the mandate for county residents to wear them in public. 

    Tags:
    COVID-19, mask, church, pastor, Idaho, United States
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