Loyola student in self-isolation after contact with Archbishop


Andres Fuentes’ workstation at his home. Fuentes is in self-isolation after coming into contact with the Archbishop who tested positive for COVID-19. Photo credit: Andres Fuentes

Gabriella Killett

After reporting on a story about the Archbishop and how local clergy are reaching out to their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, a Loyola student journalist is now in self-isolation.

Mass Communication senior and WWL-TV producer, Andres Fuentes, came into contact with Archbishop Gregory Aymond Sunday, who announced Monday he tested presumptive positive for the coronavirus.

Archibishop Gregory Aymond performs Mass on Sunday, March 22. He announced on Monday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. Andres Fuentes/The Maroon.

Upon seeing how close Fuentes got to Archbishop Aymond in the footage he captured Sunday, Fuentes said his executive producer suggested he not come to the station anymore for work.

Despite the necessity of social distancing and the suggestion by local officials to stay at home before the shelter in place order was enacted Monday at 5 pm, Fuentes said he felt an obligation to serve his community in continuing to cover what he had set out to do.

“I know how big of a deal Catholicism is in New Orleans, and how people just instantly react when something happens with the church, whether it’s good or bad,” Fuentes said.

Fuentes had bittersweet sentiments regarding his transition into self isolation.

“Channel 4 is a family, like any newsroom anywhere,” Fuentes said. “You work with these people 9 hours a day, and you didn’t know that that was going to be the last time you were going to see them.”

There are now fewer than five people working at the WWL-TV newsroom, as he, along with his colleagues, is now working from home.

“I’m ready for the challenge,” Fuentes said.

Despite his eagerness to continue reporting, Fuentes warned journalists not to push it too far.

“Make sure that you are safe because you can’t do much if you’re stuck in a room or you’re stuck in a hospital bed, or if you’re hooked up on a ventilator,” Fuentes said. “At that point, you’re a victim. You’re not a journalist, anymore.”