DANVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — Boyle County teacher Tyler Murphy tested positive for COVID-19 in August.
After isolating, he has safely returned back to the classroom. He credits being fully vaccinated for limiting his symptoms and wearing a mask for protecting those around him.
He did not have any symptoms but chose to get tested on a routine basis because of the contagious delta variant.
"I was someone who was fully vaccinated who tested positive," Murphy says.
Given how contagious the delta variant is, people who are vaccinated can still test positive for COVID-19.
"I was surprised, on the one hand," Murphy says. "On the other hand, given the information we know about the delta variant, I also wasn't surprised."
He was surprised because he did not have any symptoms. He was not surprised because experts say this variant is more contagious than earlier forms. Murphy says he was vaccinated in February. He explains why he chooses to get those routine tests.
"Making sure I was protecting folks around me, protecting members of my family who aren't able to be vaccinated yet, or who are immunocompromised," he said.
As we continue to fight this global pandemic, Murphy says his test and wearing a mask kept him from potentially exposing other people.
"But for the positive test, I never would have known I was positive," he says.
As a teacher, he wears a mask in the classroom, as do his students. Health officials say wearing a mask can keep the virus from spreading. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, guidance suggests universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.
"One person, it may seem doing that may not matter but if we all do our part and everyone who is able does their part, then it makes a difference," he added.
Local health leaders also agree that masking can limit the spread, especially in a school setting.
Austin Pollack, LEX 18: "If he's not wearing that mask, and the students are not wearing a mask, potentially how many people is he exposing if he's not wearing this?"
"Oh it could be a lot of people," said Brent Blevins, who is the health director in Boyle County. "And that's the same way with the general public. If you have a positive case, they're in a workplace, there's no social distancing, there's no mask-wearing when needed, it could spread just like that as well as with kids in schools."