Cleburne Co. COVID-19 outbreak linked to church outing

Cleburne Co. COVID-19 outbreak linked to church outing
As of 8:30 a.m. March 24, 2020 (Source: Arkansas Dept. of Health)

CLEBURNE COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - While many of the state’s COVID-19 cases (236 as of 10:30 a.m. March 25) are clustered in Pulaski and Jefferson County, one of the worst outbreaks can be traced back to a single church outing in Cleburne County.

Tuesday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports over three dozen members of Greers Ferry First Assembly of God who attended a three-day “Kids Crusade” earlier this month have tested positive for COVID-19.

The church’s pastor, Mark Palenske, posted on social media last Thursday that both he and his wife were among those who tested positive.

When something like this Covid-19 virus touches the other side of the world, your first inclination is to assume that...

Posted by Greers Ferry First Assembly on Thursday, March 19, 2020

“It appears, from what I know at this time, most of the cases that we have in our county” are related to the Greers Ferry church, Cleburne County Judge Jerry Holmes was quoted as saying.

Shipp told the paper all but three of the people at the Kids Crusade were members or staff of the church. The other three were missionaries and a child who brought the program to the church.

"A number of cases in that county have been associated with that church," Arkansas Department of Health spokeswoman Danyelle McNeill told the paper. "We are still investigating newly reported cases and can't definitively say they are all connected to that church."

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