Mask Defiant Pastor Hospitalized, Five Staffers COVID+

The Spokesman-Review reports:

A Coeur d’Alene pastor who opened his large church in early May for in-person services that allowed and even encouraged unmasked congregants to gather has been recovering from COVID-19 at the Kootenai Health intensive care unit.

Paul Van Noy, the senior pastor at Candlelight Christian Fellowship, has spent the past two weeks in the ICU while his wife, Brenda Van Noy, recovered from her own bout with COVID-19 at home. Five other church staff have been infected, said Eric Reade, body ministry coordinator the church.

The church closed its doors for two weeks and underwent deep cleaning before reopening for in-person services Sunday, Reade said. “We didn’t want, obviously, to be spreading the virus,” he said. Church staffers don’t know how Van Noy contracted the virus, Reade said.