• John McGary, Woodford Sun Editor

King’s Way Church center of recent COVID outbreak, Prather: 70 percent were unvaccinated


KING’S WAY CHURCH is the epicenter of a recent outbreak of COVID-19, with 41 positive cases traced to a June 27 service. More than 70 percent of those testing positive were unvaccinated, according to Woodford Public Health Director Cassie Prather. (Photo by John McGary)
KING’S WAY CHURCH is the epicenter of a recent outbreak of COVID-19, with 41 positive cases traced to a June 27 service. More than 70 percent of those testing positive were unvaccinated, according to Woodford Public Health Director Cassie Prather. (Photo by John McGary)

Forty-one people who recently tested positive for the coronavirus

attended services at King’s Way Church and 29 of them were unvaccinated,

according to Woodford Public Health Director Cassie Prather.

“We first learned about the increase in positive cases over the July

Fourth weekend, and we believe at this point that the infection or

exposure occurred that previous Sunday (June 27),” Prather said.

She said when test results began rolling in July 6, her staff reviewed

symptoms and connected the dots, tracing them to the June 27 service.

“I want to thank the (health care) providers in the area for doing a

great job of giving that … information, because that was really

instrumental in us being able to quickly identify the source of the

exposure,” Prather said.

Prather said she also wanted to thank church officials for immediately

notifying the congregation that they may have been exposed to the

coronavirus.

The church, which is on Lexington Road across from The Kentucky Castle,

is attended by people from multiple counties, and Prather said the case

cluster includes people from Fayette and possibly Anderson counties. On

Monday, Prather said four people from the church were hospitalized, none

of whom were vaccinated.

“We are continuing to investigate, because … when the exposure occurs,

you can have people who are infected and then family members and friends

of those that are infected are already exposed before they know the

person they were around was sick …” Prather said. The secondary

exposures – known as epi-linked cases – are not included in the tally of

41, she said.

King’s Way Pastor Jeff Johnson told WKYT-TV, “What’s so disheartening

for all of us involved is that we’ve done everything that everyone

encouraged us to do and some” and that in-person services were cancelled

until at least July 18. He did not return a call from the Sun.

Prather said she and her staff believe the King’s Way strain is likely

the Delta variant or another of the more easily transmissible types, but

they won’t know for sure until genomic test results are back from the

state Department of Public Health.

“With Delta, the viral load in the respiratory tract is much higher than

with the variants that were circulating in the beginning of the

pandemic, and so that just means if you breathe or cough, the droplets

that come out of your mouth are going to contain more of a viral load …”

she said.

Variants aside, her message remains the same.

“My plea at this point is that if you have not gotten the vaccine,

please get it now. We’ve got over half of the United States population

vaccinated, so you’re not going to be the guinea pig. These vaccines

work – all three of the vaccines that have been granted emergency use

authorization in the United States are 84 to 94 percent effective, even

against the variants,” Prather said.

While a small percentage of those who’ve been vaccinated do catch the

coronavirus, their symptoms are not nearly as bad and the recovery

process not nearly as long, she said.

The Woodford County Health Department continues to offer COVID-19

vaccination clinics at Versailles Presbyterian Church every Wednesday

from 9 a.m. to noon and 3 to 5:30 p.m. Many doctors’ offices and

pharmacies are offering the vaccine, too.


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