Priest at Windsor's Assumption parish diagnosed with COVID-19

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The pastor at Our Lady of The Assumption Roman Catholic parish in Windsor says he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Father Maurice Restivo, 65, told parishioners through Facebook that he started having chills and fever on Jan. 21, and tested positive last Saturday.

"I have already been isolating since symptoms began and will continue to do so," he said in a post on the parish's Facebook page on Jan. 30.

"Please know how much I miss doing ministry, and how much I look forward to being over this. I am deeply moved by the outpouring of care and concern from so many of you. Keep me in your prayer, and know that you are in mine."

Restivo said he was doing an annual retreat at a local house owned by Assumption University when he began to experience symptoms of the virus. An initial test for COVID-19 came back negative.

According to Matthew Clarke, a spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of London, Restivo became ill long after entering isolation, so staff at the parish weren't asked to get tested or isolate.

Prior to going on the retreat and becoming sick, Restivo was doing "normal parish work" including administration, livestreaming Masses and confessions, with "very strict safety protocols," according to Clarke.

Restivo is doing OK, he said.

"He's recovering at this time, but I don't believe it was a severe case," he said.

According to a second post on the parish's Facebook page, Restivo briefly visited an emergency room on Tuesday but was not admitted to hospital. In addition to COVID-19, Restivo also contracted pneumonia and is receiving antibiotics, according to the post.

Restivo has been the pastor at Assumption since 2015. It is the oldest Roman Catholic parish in Canada, west of Montreal.