COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — A pastor in Coeur d'Alene who contracted coronavirus provided an update on his condition from the hospital this week.
Pastor Paul Van Noy with Candlelight Christian Fellowship previously said congregants could attend church services without masks, despite a mandate in Kootenai County.
A message posted to the church's website on Monday, Sept. 14 says Pastor Paul Van Noy and his wife, Brenda, contracted coronavirus. Paul, who is receiving treatment at Kootenai Health, was recently showing signs of improvement and his wife is "well on her way to a full recovery," according to the update.
"We are so grateful and thankful for all the doctors, nurses and staff at Kootenai Medical risking their lives to save others. We pray the families of Kootenai staff stay safe and healthy," the church's message reads.
In the message, Van Noy provided an update about his journey from the hospital. He said that he had been in the intensive care unit for 11 days as of Monday. At that point, he had a few more days in the ICU before he'd be moved to a regular room.
Van Noy said he feels OK but still needs "quite a bit of oxygen support," especially when he tries to get out of bed.
“I thank the Lord for all the support I have been shown and especially from Brenda as she too has had a battle with the Covid-19 herself. I am thankful she did not need to be hospitalized… I pray daily for all the staff and members of Candlelight— and the other churches," Van Noy wrote in part.
"I am watching in prayer that there are no new cases and we can all be back together—worshipping (sic) together as called — very soon. Please pray for health and strength for all. We are called to such a time as this — to represent the Lord!" his message continues.
The Coeur d'Alene Press reported on Sept. 10 that about 60 people gathered for a prayer vigil outside of Van Noy's ICU window at Kootenai Health.
As of Thursday morning, the church had not publicly announced any new cases connected to its congregants.
Candlelight Christian Fellowship is one of several religious groups in North Idaho that has held with in-person gatherings. Van Noy, like many other residents in Kootenai County, has also spoken out against a mandate requiring masks in public.
In a Facebook post written in July, Van Noy wrote that his church was "exercising its freedom" and the right to allow its congregants to attend service without observing Panhandle Health District's mask mandate.
"We are not suggesting you disobey your local, city, county, state, or federal laws. As your pastor I believe that would be sinful and wrong," Van Noy's post reads in part. "However, in this case, we can peacefully and biblically resist, without violation of the Godly standards we submit ourselves to."
As of now, Candlelight continues to hold in-person services at 9 and 10:45 a.m. on Sundays, along with offering an option to stream online, the church said on its website. Children's ministry and junior high Bible study are also offered during services, as well as youth ministry group meetings.
Idaho is currently in Stage 4, where gatherings of any size are allowed with proper social distancing and sanitation.