Pastor: At least 10 who attended Glenview church service get coronavirus

  • This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S.

    This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. NIAID-RML via AP

 
 
Updated 3/27/2020 2:54 PM

An estimated 43 people, more than half the people who attended a service March 15 at The Life Church of Glenview, are sick and at least 10 have tested positive for COVID-19, Pastor Anthony LoCascio confirmed Thursday evening.

"A lot of people are sick," said LoCascio, who says 11 days after starting to feel ill he still has a persistent cough. "My whole family has the same symptoms."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

He estimated that 43 people had symptoms but only about a dozen had been tested for COVID-19. Eighty were at the service, he said.

"Everybody who's getting tested have tested positive," for COVID-19, he said. "A lot of people weren't able to get tested," he added.

Two of those who have taken ill are hospitalized, and a third person had been but is back home, according to LoCascio.

They include a 64-year old man with pancreatic cancer who tested positive and whose family tested positive, according to LoCascio. The man is in a hospital.

The other was the speaker at the service, who lives in Nevada and flew home that night. The topic of the talk was not about illness, but the message has become relevant to members of the Life Church of Glenview.

"He talked about having faith, not fear," LoCascio said. The pastor said he kept in touch with the speaker as reports of illness among those who attended began circulating, but the speaker's condition turned quickly.

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"He said he was having a low-grade fever. The next thing I know, I heard he's in intensive care," LoCascio said.

He said he began to feel sluggish by the end of the day of the service and has been home since.

"I didn't know I was ill on Sunday night, but I did feel very spent, exhausted," LoCascio said.

"When I woke up Monday morning, I was convinced I had the flu. I had leg cramps, high fever -- 102 -- shivers." That continued about a week, and then the cough came, he said.

"My lungs felt very hardened and stiff, like leather," he said.

LoCascio, 43, said he and the others have been weathering the illness at home and have not needed hospitalization. Most of the affected range in age from the late 20s to the mid-40s, although some children were ill as well.

They included parishioner John W. Jenkins, who posted on Facebook asking viewers to pray for his church and family.

"We were hit pretty hard by the COVID-19 virus," Jenkins wrote. He said he and his wife are recovering "but still feeling the affects on our lungs." They are quarantined at home, he said.

LoCascio, who has been pastor at the Life Church for 11 years, said he thought about whether to hold the service. But at the time, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases was low and a stay-at-home order had not yet been imposed. Plus, he had an out-of-town speaker coming.

"We had a guest speaker. We were promoting it," he said. "We made the announcement, 'If you're sick, stay home.' We didn't know. No one knew."

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