Updated: LawCo Confirms 16 New Cases of COVID-19 on July 10

by James McNary, Articles Editor

Update: Freedom Christian Center has now decided to cancel all services for the upcoming week, as of July 11.

Just days after announcing a mass exposure event a church revival south of Mt. Vernon, the Lawrence County Health Department is confirming 16 new cases have been found resident in Lawrence County as of the evening of July 10.

At least 8 of the cases are connected to the revival held at Freedom Christian Center earlier in the week, during which several individuals who were later confirmed to have COVID-19 were in attendance and not wearing masks. Another 4 are linked to other positive family members, another is a work exposure at EFCO, and the others are either community exposures or still under investigation.

"All positive cases have been told to isolate at home from others and their closed contacts told to quarantine for 14 days," the LCHD said in statement.

Among the places visited by these individuals while they may have been contagious were:

July 5, morning services, Freedom Christian Center, Aurora.

July 6, 2:45 p.m., Mt. Vernon License Bureau. The individual was not wearing a mask.

July 6, 3:30 p.m., Walmart, Mt. Vernon. The individual was wearing a mask.

July 7, 1 p.m., Grande Tire, Aurora. The individual was showing symptoms and not wearing a mask.

July 7, 8-9 p.m., Texas Roadhouse, Springfield. The individual was showing symptoms and not wearing a mask.

July 8, time not specified, Red Barn Cafe, Mt. Vernon. The individual was showing symptoms and not wearing a mask.

The LCHD is informing individuals who may have visited these locations around these and times to watch themselves for symptoms for the next 14 days.

Despite the mass exposure event and the urging of the Health Department to do otherwise, Freedom Christian Center has announced that they plan to continue holding services, though they do plan to disinfect their facilities. At least some services will also to the outdoor arena where "cowboy church" services and other events have been held in the past.

"As I see it, we can sit and wait while listening to the threatening words that produce nothing but fear, or we can grab a rock (the sold rock, Jesus Christ) and charge this giant with the Good News," said Pastor Tony Swillum in a Facebook post. "I have sat silent for too long while allowing COVID-19 to determine our meetings schedule and this situation has re-ignited a fire in my bones to bring salvation to the multitudes!"

Lawrence County now has 69 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 38 recovered and 1 individual deceased from the Coronavirus-caused illness. Symptoms of COVID-19 can begin to appear at any point from 2 days to 2 weeks after exposure to the virus.

Recommended preventive actions include:

- Wearing a mask in public and/or at work.

- Avoiding large social gatherings where social distancing is difficult to achieve.

- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

- Avoiding touching the eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

- Washing hands often, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds -- or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.

- Cover coughs or sneezes in the crook of the arm, or in a tissue, then wash hands.

- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using regular household cleaning sprays or wipes.

- Stay home if feeling sick.

Older adults and people of any age with serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk of the more serious complications from COVID-19. The LCHD said those who do not have a primary doctor, can utilize a CoxHealth virtual visit via https://www.coxhealth.com/services/virtualvisits/ using the code: COVID.