Bob Bryant, an associate pastor for the Water of Life Community Church in San Bernardino died of COVID-19, a month after his church defied California’s order banning indoor services.
Bryant, 58, a hypertensive diabetic started showing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection while on vacation. He tested positive for the virus on November 22.
He became ill and was hospitalized after he developed severe pneumonia in his lungs, according to the Los Angeles Times. Bryant suffered a heart attack and was ultimately placed on a ventilator. He died on Monday.
San Bernardino is one of the hardest hit counties in one of the hardest hit states. It has reported one of the highest rates of coronavirus infections among California’s 58 counties. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the county has quadrupled in the past month, from 217 on Oct. 26 to 883 on Tuesday, The LA Times reports.
Water of Life Community Church defied a mid-July order banning in-person, indoor services when they reopened five weeks ago.
“Here at Water of Life, we believe that God is bigger than the coronavirus,” founder and senior pastor Dan Carroll said at the time. “We also believe in taking the right precautions to ensure the safety and health of everyone who comes to our campuses.”
Carroll also said that the church experienced “several deaths over the last eight or nine months but, yes, we try to protect ourselves and guard against COVID.”