YAKIMA, Wash.- The Yakima Diocese of the Catholic Church confirmed Sunday that a priest from Mattawa is one of the Grant County, Wash. patients who has tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a press release from the Diocese, Rev. Alejandro "Alex" Trejo, pastor or Our Lady of the Desert Parish in Mattawa, has been hospitalized at Kadlec in a special isolation unit since March 1, 2020.

“He has been hospitalized for eight days with a case of pneumonia,” said Rev. Monsignor Robert Siler. “We weren’t sure the source of pneumonia but he was tested twice earlier this week for the coronavirus and both tests proved inconclusive. The Grant County Health District requested another test and that test came back with a positive result late (Saturday) night.”

It's not known how 48-year old Fr. Trejo contracted the illness, but he's expected to be released from the hospital in a few days to continue his recovery at a private residence.

The parish facilities had already undergone a deep cleaning Friday, in anticipation of possible weekend Masses, according to information from the diocese. In response to Governor Jay Inslee’s expansion statewide of a ban on gatherings larger than 250, local church officials suspended all public Masses, with the exception of a few funerals and weddings.

Grant County Health District is reporting one case of positive, and one case of probable COVID-19 within the county, including one death. It's not known of Fr. Trejo's case is included in those numbers, as the Grant County website hasn't been updated since Friday afternoon, and the information from the Yakima Diocese claims the test results were returned Saturday night.

According to the Benton-Franklin Health District, the positive case is attributed to Grant County where the patient originated, even though they were tested and are being treated in Benton County.

“While some people are very upset about this, we believe it is necessary step and that ultimately it will help save lives,” said Rev. Siler. “We encourage people to be patient and to be praying. We need all the prayers we can get as a church, as a community and really as the entire nation continues to overcome this pandemic.”

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