Two Retired Catholic Bishops Test Positive for Coronavirus Amid Texas Surge

Among the infected priests are Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Fiorenza, 89, and Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Vincent Rizzotto, 88.

(photo: Shutterstock)

HOUSTON, Texas — Amid a surge of coronavirus cases in Texas, four retired clerics, including two bishops, have tested positive at a priests’ retirement home in Houston.

“We ask that you please pray for all those impacted by COVID-19, and in particular for all of our priests,” the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston said June 29.

Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza Priest Retirement Residence was exposed to COVID-19 after a food service worker and an independent caregiver tested positive for the virus.

Among the infected priests are Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Fiorenza, 89, and Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Vincent Rizzotto, 88. None of the four who have tested positive for the virus have developed serious symptoms. Out of the 18 priests in the residence, 12 have tested negative for the coronavirus, and two have not yet received their results.

Texas is seeing as many as 5,000 diagnoses of infection with the coronavirus a day.

“Over just the past few weeks, the daily number of cases have gone from an average of about 2,000, to more than 5,000,” Governor Greg Abbott said June 28.

The surge follows loosening of restrictions in the state, but the governor recently closed bars again, and reduced the capacity at which restaurants are allowed to operate.

Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, told KHOU 11 that "We opened up the state too early, and we didn't put in enough belts and suspenders to do it properly."

The state had begun reopening in early May.

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