Church visitor tests positive for COVID-19

(Elizabeth Erwin/The News)

Daniella Tebib

News Editor

Cady Stribling

Features Editor

An individual who attended the University Church of Christ service in Murray on Sunday, March 15, has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Church and Murray Calloway County Hospital’s Facebook pages.

The University Church of Christ made a Facebook post on Thursday, March 19, warning members of the reported case after a visitor attended their service from out of state.

“At 3:45 this afternoon, we received a call from the Calloway County Health Department informing us that an individual, a visitor who attended our service this past Sunday morning, has since been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus,” according to the Church’s Facebook post. “In an abundance of caution, the Health Department has instructed us to communicate this to all our members who were here this past Sunday morning.”

Just hours after the University Church of Christ made the Facebook post, it was taken down. The Murray Calloway County Hospital posted on its Facebook page that there are no confirmed cases in Calloway County at this time.

“We have received a lot of questions and are aware of a person who traveled from out of state and attended an event this past Sunday in Murray,” according to the hospital’s Facebook post. “This person has been diagnosed with COVID-19. All those who were potentially exposed have been contacted and instructed by the health department with what steps to take.”

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Odell will join For Calloway in a livestream on Friday, March 20 at 12 p.m. to answer the many questions the public has regarding the reported COVID-19 case in Murray.

The Church is urging those who attended the Sunday service to self-quarantine for the next 10 days in compliance with the Health Department’s instructions. They have also asked its members to share the information with others who do not have Facebook. 

The Church also held a blood drive on Wednesday, March 18. Gail McGovern, president and CEO of American Red Cross, is still encouraging people to donate blood. She said they are taking extra safety precautions in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and still allow people to donate.

“These include: checking the temperature of staff and donors before they enter a drive to make sure they are healthy; providing hand sanitizer for use before, during and after the donation; and spacing out beds and managing the flow of donors to follow social distancing guidelines,” McGovern said in an email to ARC volunteers. “These precautions are in addition to the strict safety protocols we already follow. Our staff wear gloves and change them with each new donor, we routinely wipe down donor-touched areas, and we use sterile collection seats for every blood donation.”

Gov. Andy Beshear has strongly recommended churches cancel services in order to protect Kentuckians from the virus. On Thursday, March 19, the state’s public health commissioner Dr. Steven Stack and acting secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services Eric Friedlander prohibited all mass gatherings in a formal letter. To read the full letter, click here.

Beshear also announced restaurants with active liquor licenses that are participating in food delivery or carry out, may also deliver alcoholic beverages as long as they are sealed and in their original containers. Beshear said he made this decision to help ease the economic impacts restaurants and bars are experiencing. To read the full order, click here.

There have been 47 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky. A second child, a 6-year-old in Jefferson County, has tested positive. A 64-year-old male in Jefferson County passed away and has since tested positive. The man’s death is the second in the state connected to the virus.

Beshear also said in his daily press conference that K-12 schools should expect to be closed longer than two weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends preventative measures be taken including social distancing, washing hands for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands, avoiding close contact with people who are sick and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, flu-like symptoms, cough or shortness of breath.

If you or a loved one experiences any of these symptoms, call the Calloway County Health Department at (270) 753-3381 or the Kentucky COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-722-5725.