The pastor of a large downtown Chattanooga church was declared the first case of COVID-19 in Hamilton County amid federal, state and local governments announcing a state of emergency due to the global pandemic.
Following the announcement of the first local case, the Episcopal Church of East Tennessee released a statement saying Father Brad Whitaker, rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, tested positive for the new coronavirus.
Whitaker fell ill after attending the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes in Louisville between Feb. 19 and 22. If the pastor contracted the virus in Louisville, he would have traveled back to Chattanooga nearly two weeks before Tennessee announced its first confirmed case of the coronavirus in Tennessee.
I’m sure his parishioners–one of whom is a neighbour–are thrilled.