Denton Catholic Deacon Tests Positive for COVID-19

The deacon assisted during Mass two days before testing positive

NBC 5 News

A deacon at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church tested positive for COVID-19 two days after assisting during Mass, officials said in an email to parishioners Saturday.

Deacon Alfonso Ramirez assisted in a 6:30 p.m. mass on July 29, two days before testing positive on Aug. 1 for COVID-19, according to the email, which said Ramirez reported he was not exhibiting symptoms on July 29.

According to the email, Ramirez followed social distancing guidelines, including wearing a face mask and sanitizing his hands before distributing communion, and the church was sanitized after the 6:30 p.m. mass.

In a separate email sent on Tuesday, the parish pastor at the church, Rev. Tim Thompson, said he had some symptoms of COVID-19 and felt sick for two days after returning to North Texas from a trip on July 30 via airplane.

"On Sunday afternoon (Aug. 2) I started feeling bad and took my temperature which was 101," Thompson said. "I had a fever that day, along with some chills and aches. On Monday, I had no fever but still felt achy and not much appetite. By Tuesday morning, I felt my old self."

Thompson said he was self-quarantining while awaiting test results, following protocol from the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth that calls for clergy that feels ill with any symptoms of the virus to withdraw from ministry and self-quarantine until tests results are received.

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