Several members of an Illinois Pentecostal church are hospitalized or in home quarantine after holding a revival service two Sundays ago; at least 10 of them have tested positive for Covid-19.
Via Facebook Wednesday night, Layna LoCascio, Pastor Anthony LoCascio’s wife, of The Life Church of Glenview, said at least 43 of the 80 people who attended the March 15 service at her church have become ill, and all those who have tested for coronavirus gave positive results.
“We have had at least 43 people infected (at least) from our church or connected to our church since our last service on March 15. All have not been tested but whoever gets tested ends up being positive, and we all have the same symptoms. It is not easy. It is not especially easy when you are a leader and a pastor of a beautiful church and we all get infected together,” he wrote.
The meeting took place days before the order to stay at the governor’s house. However, it was after authorities asked that large public events be reduced to 1,000 people and private events to a maximum attendance of 250, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Pastor LoCascio had considered canceling the service, but because the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the area was low, he decided not to do so, particularly because they had a guest speaker coming and had been promoting the event for a while, he told the Daily Herald.
“We had a guest speaker. We were promoting it,” he said. “We made the announcement, ‘If you’re sick, stay home.’ We didn’t know. No one knew.”
“One of the main pillars of our church, who has cancer, is in the hospital with pneumonia and a blood infection and cancer of the pancreas and Covid.19 He’s not doing well. He’s in the ICU and on a respirator. My husband is devastated by that! So devastated! He’s been so sick too,” wrote Layna LoCascio.
“It’s been 11 straight days of fever and illness. He still has a fever, and now a cough, but he’s able to walk and talk and eat at least (he had gotten so bad that he asked me to check his life insurance, poor thing),” said the pastor.
Layna LoCascio said she, her husband, and the visiting evangelist had just attended a ministers’ conference in the Chicago metropolitan area, where coronavirus cases have been exploding, just days before the March 15 revival service and may have been infected there.
“If it were just our family, it would be much easier to treat, but when you affect so many in our church, it’s very difficult. … Little did we all know (our church leaders and my husband and I and brother Hernandez and his family), little did we know that we were probably infected with Covid,19” he said.
They were looking forward to the special service because it was their last meeting before the confinement took effect, she said.
“We had invited so many guests and members. We all knew it was the last service before the lockdown. So many beautiful things happened! People were filled with the Holy Spirit and we even had miracles. He even preached about faith! But now… now he’s in the hospital with pneumonia and under sedation, not doing any good. What can I say? Do I give up my faith? Do I look directly into the eyes of what seems to be the most feared situation that could arise from this?” he asked.
“My sweet, beautiful mother (and probably my father too) ended up getting infected, and now Mom is home with a bad cough and in bed. I could sit and worry (and believe me, I’ve done my share of that), and I could let my spirit inside me die, or I could make a decision to say, “I KNOW MY GOD!” and my God says “I’ll be with you!”
Layna LoCascio also posted a video on the church’s Facebook explaining that she has been treating her husband with garlic.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that while garlic is a healthy food and may have “some antimicrobial properties”, there has been “no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.”