Father Ubald Rugirangoga remains in the ICU at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, where he is back on a ventilator and sedated while fighting complications from COVID-19.
Though he no longer tests positive for the virus, which friends believe he contracted in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he delivered a healing service in early October, his body is dealing with issues stemming from the disease.
Doctors are monitoring him for “blood clots, fluids and infections, which are all post-COVID fall outs, and he’s still requiring quite a bit of oxygen,” said Katsey Long, Rugirangoga’s friend who schedules his church visits around the U.S.
Long said the Rwandan Catholic priest’s condition is “day-to-day” following a “very severe case” of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.
“That has been the biggest issue that he’s had to deal with,” Long said. “The fluid in his lungs has kept him from breathing, so that’s why they’re monitoring him.”
Rugirangoga’s COVID-19 battle began at St. John’s Health in Jackson before he was airlifted to the larger regional hospital in Utah on Oct. 30 due to declining condition. He initially looked to be recovering and was taken off of a ventilator last week before his health worsened again.
Rugirangoga has been visiting Jackson Hole, his home away from home, since 2008. He regularly provides healing services at many local churches. He also gave a talk on forgiveness and reconciliation at the 2013 TEDxJacksonHole and was named an honorary Rotarian by the Rotary Club of Jackson Hole in 2017 for his life mission to promote forgiveness and peace throughout Europe and his home country of Rwanda.
Those who wish to receive regular updates on Rugirangoga’s health or leave him well wishes can visit his CaringBridge page at CaringBridge.org/visit/fr.ubaldrugirangoga.