robert pace

A Year Later, Pastor Reflects on Being First Confirmed COVID-19 Case in Tarrant County

Rev. Dr. Robert Pace of Trinity Episcopal Church said it was 'scary' but he's 'grateful' he's fully recovered

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At this point, it's not uncommon to know someone who has contracted COVID-19, but this time last year, it was unheard of.

A Fort Worth man, was the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Tarrant County in 2020. It's been exactly one year since that diagnosis, and memories of what happened two months ago flood back.

“I will say it was very, very scary to get the news immediately, you know, 'this is COVID,' that’s a scary thing to hear particularly at the beginning when we don’t know what that is," said Rev. Dr. Robert Pace, the rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Worth.

It all started after a trip to a conference in Kentucky, Rev. Dr. Robert Pace, the rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, started to feel sick about 5 days after the trip. He received two flu tests, but both returned negative.

"I had the cough continually for a little over two weeks and it got continually worse and then I started to get very weak, the fever went on and off, but then I started to get very weak, and that’s when I finally ended up going to the hospital," said Pace.

He was admitted to Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center in Fort Worth on March 9, 2020. The next day on March 10, 2020 he tested positive for COVID-19 and was the first confirmed case in Tarrant County.

"They told my wife first and I was in isolation in the hospital, she called me to tell me while the doctors were putting their personal protective equipment to come in and tell me. So it was actually my wife who told me on the phone as the doctors came to tell me. In some ways I’m kind of grateful (that his wife broke the news) but it was still very scary," said Pace.

He remained in the hospital for three days and received oxygen. He was later discharged and eventually recovered.

“One of the things I reflect on as we hit this year marker is that I am really grateful to be at this place where, you know, so many people aren’t. More than 500,000 people did not make it to this place and I’m tremendously grateful that I’m here," said Pace.

He said he thinks people need to reflect on that number which he calls 'sobering.'

The faith leader said when he goes out, he takes his mask with him, is mindful of his distance and is also mindful of life itself.

"I pay attention much more closely to those I love and pay attention to trying to be mindful of who we are and what we’re supposed to do in this world. My faith has been central to this all along. We are called, I think, to love one another and there are times throughout all of this that I’ve gotten down, I think we all get down, but at the same time o know that we can be in this together and that we are loved by our creator to move forward and be there for each other and I’ve been inspired by that," said Pace.

This Sunday for the first time in months they will have church in person, but outside and with masks required.

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