TAYLOR COUNTY—Officials from the Grafton-Taylor County Health Department have reported that there has been another small outbreak in a church setting and the potential for an outbreak scenario at a local business.
According to Threat Preparedness Coordinator Shawn Thorn, three individuals from a local church, West Hill Wesleyan Methodist, have tested positive for Coronavirus. The patients are in their 20s, 50s and 60s and are in quarantine at their homes.
According to Dr. David Bender, County Health Officer, an outbreak is classified as three or more individuals who were present in the same place that test positive for the virus.
“If we have a group in which we cannot ensure communication with every person who may have been in contact with the virus in a timely fashion, we will release the information to the public,” said Bender. “It just so happens that this group gathering was at a church. If it were a tavern, gym, restaurant, doctor’s office or barber shop it would have been no different.”
During the time of the suspected contamination, there were approximately 30 people in attendance at the service, and those individuals have been contacted by health officials. They are currently quarantining at home, and some have already undergone testing.
“We have reached out to the pastor of the church, and they have closed the building down for 14 days to do a deep cleaning,” said Thorn.
According to Thorn, members of the congregation were following the guidelines set forth for church goers, for the most part.
“The church was utilizing every other pew and families were distancing,” he reported. “They were wearing masks, but it was revealed that once families were sitting together, sometimes they would remove their masks.”
Thorn said that this current outbreak should serve as a reminder to individuals to utilize a virtual church service option, even possible.
“Our most high-risk populations are attending church services, and we must do what we can to keep them safe,” he voiced.
The health department is continuing to monitor the situation, and should more congregation members test positive, Epidemiological investigation to include contact tracing will be conducted to ensure all individuals with known interaction are contacted and tested.
“This church has been wonderfully cooperative. Their congregations care and concern allowed us to identify this outbreak more quickly,” Bender said.
Health Officials from the Grafton-Taylor County Health Department are also monitoring a possible contamination at White Front Tavern and Grill.
According to Bender, anyone who was at the White Front between Friday, July 17 and Sunday, July 19 may have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive employee and/or contracted employee.
“On Thursday one server tested positive. This person showed no symptoms,” said White Front Owner Kelly Turoczi. “We are working closely with Dr. Bender and the Taylor County Health Department to ensure everyone’s safety.”
“We will be opening as soon as we are told to do so. We have already deep cleaned our establishment and upon reopening all employees will be doing mandatory weekly testing,” she added
Concerned individuals should self-monitor themselves for symptoms and consider COVID-19 testing and self-quarantine if they had prolonged exposure. Symptoms include fever, loss of taste and/or smell, cough, headache, nausea, vomiting, and muscle aches.
Anyone with any questions may call the Grafton-Taylor County Health Department at 304-265-1288 or message them on Facebook.
With the news of the church outbreak, the Grafton-Taylor County Health Department confirmed Taylor County’s 36th positive case of the coronavirus disease involving a Taylor County resident.
The numbers continued to climb throughout Thursday evening, and by Friday morning the health department reported their 40th case of COVID-19.
“That number may very well change,” said Thorn. “We are testing over 60 people at our mobile testing site today. That is our largest number of tests to date.”
If you think that you may have come in contact with a COVID positive person or you are experiencing any symptoms, please call Grafton City Hospital at 304-265-0400 to schedule a time for testing.