Craig Breimhorst

Pastor Craig Breimhorst, of Faribault, center, is pictured with Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) and Bashir Abdi, from Faribault’s Islamic center, speaking about racist commentary by a former area business owner. Breimhorst’s was the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Rice County. (Daily News file photo)

Craig Breimhorst, the first Rice County resident with a confirmed case of COVID-19, was airlifted Saturday to Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.

Breimhorst, a retired Faribault pastor, contracted the virus during a trip to Israel and experienced fever and nausea prior to being airlifted to Abbott. Breimhorst told his wife, Carol, Saturday morning that he thought he’d gotten through the virus. Two hours later she called an ambulance and he was taken to District One Hospital in Faribault.

There have been two additional cases confirmed in Rice County since his confirmation.

Breimhorst, 71, is in critically stable condition, Carol said Friday. He’s been in a drug-induced coma and on a ventilator but the plan is to wake him up this weekend, she said.

“Each day we get a little positive news,” Carol said. “There hasn’t been a day of a negative report.”

Doctors told Carol that people typically reach a point 12 to 14 days after contracting the virus where it impacts them the most. Craig was airlifted 13 or 14 days after contracting the virus.

“It’s going to be a long recovery because he’s been in a drug-induced coma,” Carol said.

Carol has remained in contact with the couple’s three sons and friends through the phone, email and the internet but hasn’t been able to visit him.

Craig is receiving prayers from many, including the hospital’s chaplain who has prayed with him while a nurse holds a phone to his ear, Carol said. Those doctors and staff comfortable with praying have prayed with him as well, she said.

Breimhorst, who led Christ Lutheran Church in Faribault for 30 years, woke up March 14 after flying back to Minneapolis from Israel late the prior evening, with a fever and slight chills.

Public Health officials recommend anyone 70 years and older, and those with underlying health conditions stay home as much as possible and avoid gatherings and other instances of potential exposures, including travel.

Current recommendations are that anyone sick with respiratory symptoms or fever, should stay at home for seven days after illness onset or 72 hours after resolution of the fever, whichever is longer. The majority of people infected with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms and make full recoveries but it has had a more serious impact on the elderly and those with underlying health issues, and puts a strain on medical resources.

A total of 24,227 tests have been performed in Minnesota with 789 confirmed cases. A total of 410 people no longer need isolation in Minnesota. A total of 156 cases have required hospitalization and 22 people have died from COVID-19 in Minnesota.

Reach Sports Editor Nick Gerhardt at 507-835-5447 or follow him on Twitter @WCNSports. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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