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Attorney for Central pastor holding defiant church services hospitalized with coronavirus

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Posted at 12:26 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 13:26:07-04

A Baton Rouge lawyer who represents the Central church and its pastor defying the governor's Stay At Home Order has been hospitalized with coronavirus (COVID-19), according to our media partners at the Advocate.

Attoney Jeff Wittenbrink told the Advocate that he attended two events at Life Tabernacle Church — an April 2 news conference and an April 5 church service, and has been at Baton Rouge General since Tuesday after progressively worsening conditions, including a high fever and persistent cough.

Wittenbrink, spoke with the paper from his hospital room and said that he did not feel ill during the church events and has "no idea" how he may have contracted the virus.

"I went to Albertson's twice a day. I went to Sam's. I went to Walmart. I went to Lowe's. I used the gas pumps. I mean I just wasn't careful. God knows where I got it. The bad thing is I might have spread to somebody. I feel bad about that, " he told the Advocate.

Wittenbrink, who is 59, is serving as the local counsel for Roy Moore, the former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice and Senate candidate who is helping represent the Rev. Tony Spell and his church in an expected legal fight over Gov. John Bel Edwards' social distancing restrictions on religious gatherings.

On April 16 the Louisiana Department of Health says there are now 22,532 confirmed cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the state. That's 581 additional cases since Wednesday. A total of 1,156 people have died of the disease in Louisiana. That's an increase of 53 deaths from Wednesday. 1,914 patients were hospitalized due to the virus and 396 of those hospitalized required ventilators.

To read the Advocate's full article, click here.

To see the latest updates from the LDH, click here.