Riverside megachurch pastor positive for COVID-19 after White House event

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- A pastor at a megachurch in Riverside announced on social media that he has tested positive for COVID-19, more than a week after attending a White House Rose Garden ceremony where several other attendees have also tested positive.

Pastor Greg Laurie, head of the Harvest Christian Fellowship megachurch, was seen sitting just a few feet from former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who has also tested positive. In an Associated Press photo of the ceremony, neither were seen wearing masks.

"It started with some fatigue that I was feeling, some aches and pains, and fever," said Laurie in a post to social media. "And then I found out the news I didn't want to find out, that I have the coronavirus."

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Multiple Republican lawmakers and White House officials who attended the ceremony have tested positive. Laurie didn't say when he tested positive, but did indicate he has a loss of his sense of taste.

"Things don't taste right to me, so as a result I've lost two pounds; a little Romans 8:28 moment there," said Laurie. "Another symptom I've experienced is boredom. I want to get out again doing what I'm called to do."

Laurie also attended a prayer march in Washington, D.C. the same day as the ceremony at the White House. Harvest Christian Fellowship has not responded to questions about how long Laurie has been in quarantine, nor whether other church members might have been exposed.

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"I've been doing OK actually," said Laurie. "I'm in quarantine, because that's what my doctors told me to do."

Laurie urged his followers to show compassion for people, and not to further politicize the issue of COVID-19.

"It's real. It really is a pandemic that has swept our nation and even our world. I mean if the president of the United States can get it, anyone can get it."

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