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UPDATE: Local pastor admitted to hospital, put in isolation; wife 'taking turn for worse,' he says
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UPDATE: Local pastor admitted to hospital, put in isolation; wife 'taking turn for worse,' he says

From the ICYMI: Here are the most-read stories from the past week series

A local pastor has been admitted to the hospital and put into isolation nearly a week after his wife was hospitalized for coronavirus.  

On Friday evening, Jeff Spencer, a pastor at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Hobart, shared news on Facebook that his wife's, Darlene Spencer, health continues to decline. 

"I love her and just had to make the most difficult decision of my lifetime," Jeff Spencer wrote. "Her doctor and nurse came down to the ER to tell me my wife is taking a turn for the worse and that if her heart stops, they are not going to restart it. Please pray for my children and extended children along with all of our grandbabies during this difficult time."

Earlier on Friday afternoon, Spencer photo of himself in a medical mask in a hospital room. 

"I’m here and isolated. Infectious disease doctor told them to admit me," the pastor wrote about 4:30 p.m.

Earlier Friday, he said amid his worsening cough, a nurse advised he may need to be tested for COVID-19 and could be admitted to a hospital.

Jeff Spencer’s wife, Darlene Spencer, is one of Lake County’s first two confirmed COVID-19 cases, and she remains in isolation while being treated at Community Hospital in Munster. Sources with knowledge of the case said Darlene Spencer is a school bus monitor for the School City of Hammond.

Pastor's wife in critical condition after positive COVID-19 test, according to pastor's Facebook post

Jeff Spencer said a close friend who is a nurse practitioner for the University of Chicago is concerned for his health and has been checking on him three times a day. He said she called Community Hospital to see if he needs to get tested and possibly admitted as his cough worsens. 

“So now, I don’t only need you to pray for my wife but also add me to the list as well," Jeff Spencer said Friday on Facebook.

The local pastor has been posting updates on Facebook about his wife’s condition, saying Friday she was still in critical condition. He also noted her oxygen levels have been dropping too low.

A fundraiser was set up Wednesday by Deborah Page, of Hobart, for Jeff and Darlene Spencer called “Pastors Jeff’s wife in ICU with Coronavirus,” which Jeff Spencer has shared on social media.

The GoFundMe page has raised nearly $4,000 of its $5,000 goal. 

On March 16, Jeff Spencer received the call his wife tested positive for coronavirus. 

In a March 18 public Facebook post, Jeff Spencer announced that his wife was sedated on a ventilator and her kidneys were failing. Her breathing is being assisted with oxygen.

Church rings bell for coronavirus responders

The pastor previously said he was under quarantine at home and couldn’t be with his wife at the hospital.

Jeff Spencer since has posted videos and photos of his wife doing things she loves, like singing at church and enjoying time with family. He also posted a photo of a care package, complete with a pecan pie, that was delivered from someone he never met before.

Keeping their connection strong while physically apart, Jeff and Darlene Spencer have seen each other through Facetime and prayed with each other in the midst of uncertainty.

Gallery: World responds to threat, reality of coronavirus

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Night Crime/Breaking News Reporter

Anna Ortiz is the breaking news/crime reporter for The Times, covering crime, politics, courts and investigative news. She is a graduate of Ball State University with a major in journalism and minor in anthropology. 219-933-4194, anna.ortiz@nwi.com

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