Washington D.C., Mar 23, 2020 / 10:33 am
The Archbishop of New Orleans has tested positive for coronavirus. He is the first U.S. bishop known to have tested positive for the virus, which is now a global pandemic.
“Recently, I had very mild symptoms, which included fever only. Out of an abundance of caution, I took the Coronavirus test which came back positive,” Archbishop Gregory Aymond announced March 23.
“I have notified those with whom I have been in close proximity. Needless to say, I have self-quarantined in order to be responsible and not affect others. I will use this quiet time for additional prayer and sacrifice for all those seriously affected by the virus,” the archbishop wrote.
“I pray to get well soon and continue ministry. In the meantime, I will be present through Facebook and the archdiocesan website with reflection on this crisis and God’s healing power. Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us! Blessed Seelos, pray for us!”
Aymond, 70, has been Archbishop of New Orleans since 2009. He was previously Bishop of Austin and an auxiliary bishop in the New Orleans archdiocese.
At least five U.S. priests are known to have the virus, and on Friday, a Franciscan friar and deacon became the first U.S. cleric known to have died of the virus.
More than 366,000 people have contracted COVID-19 as of Monday morning. More than 16,000 people have died and 101,000 have recovered from the disease so far.
A priest in the Diocese of Yakima, Washington was the first U.S. priest known to be diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 15, and a second Yakima priest was announced to have the virus March 23. Fr. Stephen Planning, SJ, president of DC's Gonzaga College High School, announced last week he also has the virus. Two priests in the Diocese of Brooklyn were also diagnosed with the virus last week.
On Saturday, Brother John-Sebastian Laird-Hammond, OFM, became the first American cleric known to have died after contracting the virus. The 59 year-old deacon had been battling leukemia for years when he became ill with the disease.