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Mendocino County’s first coronavirus death is Ukiah man linked to Redwood Valley church outbreak

An 80-year-old Ukiah man who died last week, nearly two months after he was first was diagnosed with COVID-19, appears to be the first Mendocino County coronavirus death.

George Chadwick Sr. died July 1 after weeks of hospitalization and, later, treatment at an out-of-county rehabilitation center in the community of Kentfield, according to the Marin County Office of Vital Statistics.

Chadwick was a member of the Redwood Valley Assembly of God Church, a church linked by local health authorities to an outbreak of coronavirus that infected at least nine people after a virtual service on Mother’s Day, when houses of worship across the state were closed.

Chadwick reportedly was in the church during the recording of the service, in which singing occurred. He developed symptoms on the Wednesday after the May 10 service and tested positive on May 15, his family said.

In a posting on Facebook, family members described Chadwick as a “strong, hard-working, physically fit” veteran and karate instructor who was very involved with his church.

Mendocino County will not be counting his death in its coronavirus statistics until it receives formal state notification, a necessary bureaucratic process to ensure no individual case gets counted in two counties, Mendocino County Chief Executive Officer Carmel Angelo said.

Angelo said she is aware there are members of the public who think for some reason the county, which has 92 COVID-19 cases so far, is trying to avoid claiming its first fatality. But she said the county has yet to receive notice of any kind from anyone other than journalists.

On May 11, the day after the Mother’s Day service, Jack McMilin, the pastor, and his wife, Sharon, who was part of the service, both tested positive. Jack McMilin, who is active on the church’s Facebook page and leading church services, was hospitalized but appears to have made a full recovery.

Chadwick initially quarantined at home but was hospitalized a week later and spent 20 days in intensive care in Ukiah’s Adventist Hospital before his transfer to Kentfield, his family said.

You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 707-521-5249 or mary.callahan@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @MaryCallahanB.

Mary Callahan

Environment and Climate Change, The Press Democrat

I am in awe of the breathtaking nature here in Sonoma County and am so grateful to live in this spectacular region we call home. I am amazed, too, by the expertise in our community and by the commitment to protecting the land, its waterways, its wildlife and its residents. My goal is to improve understanding of the issues, to find hope and to help all of us navigate the future of our environment. 

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