Bob Bryant Fontana pastor at Water of Life Community Church dies less than a week from complications from coronavirus. Had continued leading church services.
Bob Bryant, 58, a pastor at the Water of Life Community Church in Fontana, fell ill with symptoms while on vacation, according to the Daily Bulletin. He tested positive, as did his wife and their son, on November 22.
Bryant, who had diabetes and high blood pressure, became severely ill and was hospitalized within hours of his diagnosis. He suffered a heart attack and contracted pneumonia before passing away on Monday.
Posted wife, Lori on Instagram, ‘He fought to the very end and so did his doctors and nurses.’
To date it remained unclear where Bryant became infected, with his family saying that he had always been careful because of his underlying health conditions.
Congregation of 26,000 members
Water of Life had initially shut its door during the first California lockdown before reopening to hold socially distanced indoor services at the end of May.
The nondenominational church, which has a congregation of some 26,000, switched to outdoor services in accordance with state guidelines over the summer but returned to socially distance indoor services again on October 31.
It generally welcomes 8,000 people during weekend services but has now been forced to reduce capacity as it continues to stream services online for those who feel uncomfortable attending.
Its pastors had been among those leading the call for houses of worship to reopen in May with the church’s founder and senior pastor, Dan Carroll, insisting that congregants remain safe with social distancing and other health precautions.
‘Here at Water of Life, we believe that God is bigger than the coronavirus,’ stated Carroll at the time, according to Fontana News.
‘We also believe in taking the right precautions to ensure the safety and health of everyone who comes to our campuses. We want you to know about the steps we are taking to prevent the spread of germs.’
Congregation experienced several deaths in recent months
Bryant had been working with the church for 18 years after leaving his trucker job to become their youth pastor.
He recently spearheaded a new project which asked the congregation to donate their stimulus checks to the more needy in the Fontana community.
Carroll told NBC Los Angeles that the church community had experienced several deaths over the past few months but did not reveal if there were any current infections among the congregation.
‘We’ve experienced several deaths at our church over the last eight or nine months so it’s been difficult but, yes, we try to protect ourselves and guard against COVID,’ he said.
Once Bryant became infected, his heath deteriorated rapidly as his wife and the church called for prayers.
‘Bob got every symptom. He just started to get more and more symptoms,’ wife Lori Bryant told NBC. ‘Within three hours they were running me back to the back and they were putting Bob on a ventilator.’
Coronavirus in California unparalleled
Lori urged others to stay safe as coronavirus cases continue to rise dramatically in the area.
‘Bob just turned 58… I’m 57. Nobody thinks they’re going to be a widow at 57,’ Lori told CBS Los Angeles.
Lori and her son have now tested negative for coronavirus.
Hospitalizations in San Bernardino County have risen dramatically in the past week, increasing by 50 percent as doctors warn that ICU units could become overwhelmed.
The county has 94,106 confirmed cases and 1,129 deaths. Its current risk level describes the virus as widespread.
Of these cases, 12,500 are in Fontana, which has also had 116 coronavirus deaths.
California broke the record on coronavirus hospitalizations for the third day in a row on Monday with 8,240 people hospitalized with COVID-19.
More than 1.24 million people in the state have been infected and more than 19,376 have died as the situation continues to deteriorate.
A memorial for Bryant will be streamed online on December 7.