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Retired priests quarantined after residence worker gets Covid-19

Fourteen Catholic priests are being monitored and kept in isolation, after an employee at a home in Lackawanna for retired priests tested positive for Covid-19.

The employee became ill sometime between his or her last shift at the Bishop Head Residence on March 19 and Monday. The individual began showing signs of pneumonia and went Monday to see a doctor, according to Buffalo Diocese spokesman Greg Tucker.

“None of the priests in residence there have been determined to have any issues,” Tucker said.

The diocese contacted the Erie County Health Department and was advised to monitor closely and take regular temperature readings of the retired priests, who range in age from the 70s to the mid-90s, Tucker said. One non-retired priest in his 40s also lives in the residence.

Any lay staff who worked at the home alongside the employee who tested positive are being quarantined until April 3.

Tucker said there is a staff member who is not in quarantine and will work at the residence until the other employees are out of quarantine. A deacon also is assisting at the residence, he added.

The employee who has Covid-19 was not hospitalized and is in quarantine at home, according to Tucker.

The diocese operates three residences, with enough space for about 50 retired priests, many of whom are still active and celebrate Masses and other sacraments at various parishes.

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