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Woodford County COVID-19 outbreak linked to King’s Way Church; 80% of cases were unvaccinated

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 12:06 PM EDT
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WOODFORD COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Woodford County currently leads Kentucky with the highest vaccination rates in the state.

Cassie Prather, with the Woodford County Health Department, says 65 percent of the adult population received their doses.

Still, a cluster of about 40 people from the area has tested positive after attending King’s Way Church.

“What’s so disheartening for all of us involved is that we’ve done everything that everyone encouraged us to do and some,” says Pastor Jeff Johnson.

Johnson says they followed all CDC guidelines. When allowed to open back up, Johnson says they did so slowly.

With the church virtual until at least July 18th, Johnson says he’s focused on putting the health of the community at the forefront.

“I’ve got to lead them all, respect their own personal choices, but the responsibility I have is to lead by example, so I got it early on and I’ve been an advocate for everybody getting vaccinated,” Johnson says. “We’ll continue to beat that drum and we’ll encourage people just to be vigilant.”

The Woodford County Health Department says the spread is also beyond county lines, with cases in Fayette and Anderson counties. One person, who does not live in Woodford County, is in the hospital.

In this instance, health officials say 80 percent of the positive cases were from people who did not get vaccinated.

Prather says the health department is speaking with other church leaders to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.

“This really could happen anywhere where you have a large group of people gathering indoors, especially ones that are not vaccinated and that is the biggest threat, so the takeaway is that this could have been prevented largely and hopefully will be prevented in the future because I hope this will increase the uptake of those who get vaccinated,” Prather said.

Prather says they’re currently sending tests to a lab to see if any of these cases were the delta variant. She expects many of the results to come back positive for the variant.

Experts say the viral lead for the delta variant is higher, meaning transmission can happen more quickly.

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