By Eleanor Klibanoff
UPDATE: The Washington, D.C. pastor who was diagnosed with coronavirus weeks after attending a conference in Louisville was “asymptomatic” while at the conference, DC Health said Monday.
The first confirmed case of coronavirus in Washington, D.C. is a pastor who recently returned from a conference in Louisville, according to statements from the pastor’s church and conference organizers.
Christ Church Georgetown Rector Rev. Tim Cole attended a conference for the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes (CEEP) Network in Louisville in late February. Church spokesperson Rob Volmer told the Washington Post that Cole fell ill after returning from Louisville.
CEEP Network Executive Director Joe Swimmer said in a statement that they had notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health officials in Kentucky and Washington.
Swimmer said “expert opinion has been that simply attending a conference with someone who tests positive is not a risk factor.”
In a statement obtained by WUSA9 in Washington, D.C., Cole said, “I am receiving excellent care and am in good spirits under the circumstances. I will remain quarantined for the next 14 days as will the rest of my family.”
The conference was held at the Omni Louisville. Volmer told the Washington Post that Cole felt ill on Feb. 24, two days after returning from Louisville, but felt well enough to perform services on March 1. He was then diagnosed with the flu on March 3, and a presumptive positive for coronavirus came back on Saturday.
Louisville announced its first confirmed case of coronavirus on Sunday. The patient is in isolation at Norton Brownsboro Hospital.
Kentucky has four confirmed cases total, as of Sunday night: one in Louisville, one in Fayette County and two in Harrison County. So far, state and local officials haven’t released any information about where the patients may have contracted the virus.