MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WDTV) -- The roughly one thousand people who attend Chestnut Ridge Church in Morgantown every week did things a little differently Sunday.
Chestnut Ridge Church Pastor Kevin Deming is recovering after testing positive for the coronavirus. (Photo: Kevin Deming)
They worshiped with an empty auditorium for the second straight week, but a few thousand people tuned in to the church's live stream.
Also missing along with churchgoers was one of their pastors.
Kevin Deming is recovering at home after testing positive for the coronavirus.
He tested positive after a family trip to Israel. He's shown symptoms for roughly 12 days now and says he isn't necessarily feeling better.
"I had all the basic symptoms they were talking about," Deming said. "I wasn't running a high fever. I was only about 99 or so."
He said he was tested at Mon Health for COVID-19 after doctors ran tests to rule out other illnesses. He qualified based on the symptoms he showed coupled with his recent international travel at the beginning of the month.
The church announced to its congregation Friday of their pastor's diagnosis. He says in the days since he's received an outpouring of support and encouragement that has gone beyond his church community.
"Even the doctors and people from Mon Health have offered to get groceries or anything," Deming said. "To have your doctors offer that, it says a lot about the community you live in."
He says his family hasn't had contact with anyone at the church or in the county since returning. He's in self-quarantine with his wife and two sons. Everyone in his house except one of his sons, who has isolated himself, is showing symptoms.
But they were told they aren't expected to get tested.
"Unless it gets to the point where they need to go into the hospital, they're in the same quarantine as me," Deming said. "They just kind of assume they have it, which is interesting for the statistics. There are more people in Mon County that have it. We're just all in a space."
He says he's sharing his story so he can educate people on the symptoms and prevent someone else from getting sick.
"If you feel like you have symptoms, if you feel like you're struggling at all, stay at home," Deming said. "Stay away from people. We want to help not spread it...Some may have other symptoms; your story might be different than mine."
He hopes through his battle with the illness, others will learn to support one another and the people who need it the most.
"It's okay right now not to be okay," Deming said. "It's hard. It's difficult. We need to rally around each other and be able to ncourage each other. I'm thankful for the prayers for me, but we need to pray for the healthcare workers right now. They're on the front lines; they're the ones really making a difference."