Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger believes he had the Covid-19 virus – or an illness very close to it – after visiting Rome, Italy, in November, he told The Buffalo News on Friday.
“From all the symptoms I had, I believe I had Covid-19. My primary doctor also believes I had it, and other doctors I have spoken to believe I had it,” Scharfenberger said. “If not Covid-19, something very close to it.”
After traveling to Rome for several days to meet with Catholic Church leaders, Scharfenberger said he flew on a plane filled with many international travelers back to America.
He said he became “sick as a dog” on Nov. 15 and had to be hospitalized for several days.
“I had chills, a spiking fever and lost my sense of taste and smell,” said the bishop, who turns 72 next week.
Although health experts have said the first known cases of Covid-19 in Italy were reported in late January, some researchers believe that the virus may have afflicted other people in Europe before January.
Scharfenberger had an antibody test to see if he had Covid-19, but the test results were “inconclusive,” according to Greg Tucker, spokesman for the Buffalo Catholic Diocese.
“All I can tell you is that he is healthy now, working very hard every day while running two dioceses,” Tucker said.
Scharfenberger serves as Buffalo’s acting bishop and is also the bishop of the Albany Diocese.