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DC reverend: 'I am the individual who tested positive for the Coronavirus'

A popular D.C. reverend has confirmed that he is one of the two positive cases of coronavirus in the District.

WASHINGTON — Rev. Timothy Cole is the D.C. resident who tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday, according to a statement he sent to his congregation released on Sunday.

Cole, who is in his late 50s, is a reverend at Christ Church Georgetown, located at 3116 O Street, Northwest, D.C. 

Due to Cole being sick, Christ Church has suspended all services, meetings and other activities that have been scheduled, until further notice. 

Cole sent an updated letter to the "Christ Church family" Tuesday evening indicating that his condition was improving, but that he still had "road to travel before [he was] well." 

"Being the first point of outbreak in Washington obviously required strong measures, but I fully understand the inconvenience, and I deeply apologize," Cole's letter said. 

Cole has been with Christ Church since 2016. His wife and two children are also under quarantine out of precaution, according to the statement he released. 

"First, I want to assure you that I will be OK. I am receiving excellent care and am in good spirits under the circumstances. I will remain quarantined for the next 14 days as will the rest of my family."

WUSA9's Jess Arnold confirmed that Cole started feeling sick on Feb. 24, right after traveling to D.C. from a conference in Lousiville, Kentucky, in the previous days. 

By Feb. 29, Cole started reportedly feeling much better, and even was a part of an all-day church vestry retreat. During this time and the days following, both Cole and other church officials discussed and sent out "best practices" to avoiding the coronavirus. 

Once March began, Rev. Cole regressed. 

On March 3, his doctor diagnosed him with the flu. And by March 5, he was diagnosed with pneumonia at a hospital in the D.C. area. Two days later, he tested positive for the coronavirus. 

The announcement by Rev. Cole and Christ Church comes after D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced on Saturday that a man in his late 50s, who lives in the District, had contracted the virus that has so far killed 21 people in the United States. 

Bowser also confirmed one additional person who had stayed in D.C. but is now in Maryland, has the coronavirus too. Officially, two people are being counted as having the virus by DC Health.

Christ Church was founded in 1817. You can learn more about its history and services here. 

Tuesday's statement from Rev. Cole: 

"I am sorry you have not heard much from me over the past ten days. These last couple of weeks have been a strange up-and-down experience, and some days simply blur into each other. This virus has left me wiped out a lot of the time, but other days I have felt somewhat better.

I thank all of you so very much for your hundreds of prayers, kind wishes, and your love. I am so very fortunate to be part of the Christ Church family and to be surrounded by such good friends. I also very much appreciate the care and concern you have shown for my family, and I know they are well cared for.

As things stand, the doctors have seen improvements, but I have some road to travel before I am well. I hope very much to be back at Christ Church as soon as I can and after I am told it is safe to do so.

I am very sorry for all the disruption you have had to endure as a result of this. Being the first point of outbreak in Washington obviously required strong measures, but I fully understand the inconvenience, and I deeply apologize.

As I think of you all, in your homes, some on your own, some with your children around you, I suggest these days of self-quarantine might also give you an opportunity to do some things you don’t normally do. Please know that I am there with you in spirit and you all are in my prayers.

At the very least, I hope this may be a time when we can all get to know God and our fellow parishioners a little better, and in doing so, know that each of us is truly one of God’s children as well." 

Sunday's statement from Rev. Cole: 

"As you are now aware, we have suspended all services, meetings, and other activities at Christ Church until further notice in response to a presumed positive case of Coronavirus in our community. As we said before, we did not make the decision to close our doors lightly, but out of an abundance of caution for the most vulnerable among us. There is no need to panic. Following sensible precautions provided by the CDC will go a long way toward insuring the good health of our community.

I can now confirm that I am the individual who tested positive for the Coronavirus.

First, I want to assure you that I will be OK. I am receiving excellent care and am in good spirits under the circumstances. I will remain quarantined for the next 14 days as will the rest of my family.

Many of you will want to speak by phone or email; however, at this time, rest is what I need most, and it will be difficult for me to respond. Should you have any situations requiring pastoral care, please do contact the Reverend Mother Crystal Hardin or the Reverend John McDuffie. For matters concerning operations of the church, please contact one of the Wardens, Chad Thorley or Rusty Lindner.

The obvious question at this point is what you should do. First, please read the information provided on the CDC's website, linked here. If we are given any firm advice by public health officials, we will pass it to the Christ Church community as soon as possible. In the meantime, we have been asked to let parishioners know that should you experience any symptoms, please contact your health care provider."

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