WATCH: Idaho Pastor Hospitalized After Defying Mask Mandate


NBC Newschannel

Pastor Paul Van Noy and several members of his congregation fell ill with COVID-19 after holding services without wearing masks. He’s now in the ICU. KHQ’s Ayanna Likens reports.

(KHQ/NBC Newschannel) – An Idaho pastor who chose not to enforce Kootenai County’s mask mandate among his congregation continues to recover after he and other church staff members contracted the virus.

Paul Van Noy is the senior pastor at Candlelight Christian Fellowship in Coeur d’Alene. Back in July, after the Panhandle Health District voted in favor voted in favor of requiring masks in public places in the county, Paul took to Facebook to address his church’s response.

“We at Candlelight are exercising our freedom, and the right to allow you as members, to come into the facilities without the obligation to observe the Panhandle Health District ‘order,'” the post read in part.

Members of the church were not required to wear masks. However, Paul noted that the church would support members’ freedom to choose whether or not to wear facial coverings and follow social distancing guidelines.

In the weeks that followed, six church staff members, including Paul and his wife, Brenda, contracted the virus. Paul, has been recovering in Kootenai Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit.

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