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Mon County pastor tests positive for coronavirus; shares experience

Monongalia County’s first COVID-19 patient is Kevin Deming, a pastor at Chestnut Ridge Church.

Deming, his wife and two sons, had just returned from a trip from Israel when he began to feel sick. On Sunday, he was tested at Mon Health Medical Center for the virus and found out Thursday evening he tested positive.

“I am not scared,” he said. “I don’t feel any better, or any worse.”

Deming said he had a sore throat, mild cough and body aches. But, it was the shortness of breath and severe headache that prompted him to contact Mon Health.

He was tested for flu and strep throat. When those results were negative, doctors tested for novel coronavirus by taking swabs from his nostrils.

Deming, who is self-quarantined in his home with his wife and sons, said doctors are treating his symptoms just like the flu.

Deming told The Dominion Post that his wife, Becca, is now getting sick.

Mon Health said on its website, an adult patient with a confirmed case of COVID-19 was evaluated in its emergency room Sunday, March 15.

“The patient followed our safety protocol of calling the Patient Outreach Line prior to coming and the evaluation was conducted with appropriate precautions to effectively prevent exposure of the virus to hospital caregivers, support staff and other patients,” the website said.

“Our staff was ready for this patient and we experienced no further exposure inside the hospital.”

Emily Gallagher, a Mon Health spokesperson, declined comment.

Separately Chestnut Ridge Church, like other houses of worship locally, has taken COVID-19 precautions.

To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Chestnut Ridge announced the move of its Sunday and March 29 services online. The church as done this for a couple of weeks now. Group events scheduled through the end of March at the church have been cancelled.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday afternoon that West Virginia has 219 negative cases and seven positive. Besides Monongalia County, COVID-19 cases are in Jackson and Mercer, with one case each. Tucker County and Jefferson County have two positive cases each. Results are pending on 13 tests.

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