RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – A large New Mexico church claims a pastor has taken multiple COVID-19 tests, after visiting the White House last weekend when President Trump introduced his U.S. Supreme Court Justice nominee. Several attendees of that event have since tested positive for the coronavirus.
Pastor Skip Heitzig from Calvary Church was in front of an audience on Sunday conducting his sermon, a week after that White House event. The church says he has already tested negative once and is awaiting results from a second test.
A spokesperson with Calvary Church confirmed with KRQE News 13 on Sunday morning Pastor Heitzig was at the White House event. He says the pastor was tested that day at the White House with his test coming back negative. He says Heitzig was tested again, earlier this week and they’re waiting for those results.
But the spokesperson told KRQE the pastor is feeling well and does not have any COVID symptoms. The church streamed Heitzig on social media preaching at the church Sunday morning and Saturday night as well as Wednesday night.
One former member of the Calvary Church questions why Heitzig isn’t in quarantine as he waits for his second test to come back. “To actually go, and put yourself in a place where you’re supposed to be watching over people and taking care of them and actually putting them in harm’s way, that really upsets me,” said Travis Brown.
The spokesperson from the church told KRQE New 13 they take COVID-19 seriously and are creating healthy environments for church gatherings. The latest public health order states that people who tested negative within 72 hours of returning to New Mexico do not have to quarantine.
Neil Ortiz, the Chief Pastoral Officer emailed KRQE News 13 this statement regarding the pastor:
“Pastor Skip was invited by the President to last Saturday’s White House conference to announce his nominee for the next Supreme Court Justice. He was tested that day at the White House and his test came back negative. He’s since been tested again to further confirm.
Furthermore, not only has Pastor Skip been tested twice in the past week, he feels great and is not experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19. We are awaiting the results of the test he took since President Trump’s announcement of his positive result. Also, many others that he knows and who were also present at the announcement have since been tested with negative results. In fact, there are far more that have reported negative test results than those who’ve reported a positive result.
As a church, we take this illness very seriously. When it comes to establishing healthy environments for our church gatherings, we continue to be very thorough in adhering to and applying the requirements of both our state and federal authorities, particularly the CDC when it comes to protecting our youth. On our website, we share the measures we’ve taken and what can be expected when we gather as a church.”Neil Ortiz