Two people have reportedly infected at least 35 members of a church in Arkansas.
In a report published on Tuesday May 19, 2020, it was reported that in early March, days before the first case was confirmed, the 35 people were infected.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention therefore highlighted the need for faith-based groups to follow government guidelines to prevent transmission of the new coronavirus.
The first positive case of coronavirus in the Arkansas was confirmed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson on March 11.
According to the CDC report, an outbreak involving a small community in rural Arkansas was likely sparked by an infected couple- the pastor and his wife -who attended a series of church-related events from March 6 to 8.
On March 10, the pastor’s wife, 56, developed a fever and cough. The pastor, 57, only developed similar respiratory symptoms a day later. He also attended a bible study on March 11.
The two were later tested for COVID-19, and on March 16, they received a positive diagnosis.
According to the researchers, among 92 attendees of church’s events during March 6 to 11, 35 (38%) developed COVID-19.
An additional 26 positive cases occurred in the community, including one death, due to contact with people infected in the church.
Neither of the two reported traveling outside the area, and they had no known contact with other confirmed cases.
After the pastor and his wife received the positive diagnosis, all in-person events at the church were canceled. But they had already spread the virus to the community by then.
“This outbreak highlights the potential for widespread transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, both at group gatherings during church events and within the broader community,” the report states.