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How COVID spreads: How an outbreak started in the county with the highest vaccinations

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Posted at 4:11 PM, Jul 09, 2021

WOODFORD COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — How did Central Kentucky's latest outbreak start in the county with the highest rate of vaccinations in the state? Health experts say the mix of the Delta variant and unvaccinated people played a role.

Of the 40 people known to be a part of the coronavirus outbreak at the church setting in Woodford County, officials say 80% were not vaccinated.

They were indoors, likely unmasked, and within 6 feet of each other.

In addition, Cassie Prather, Public Health Director for Woodford County believes lab results will show the more transmissible Delta variant is at play.

"If it were a different situation and 90% had been vaccinated, it makes it a whole lot more difficult for the variant to spread," said Prather.

Although Woodford County has the highest vaccinated population in the state, the area hasn't reached herd immunity. Prather says that further proves the science is correct.

"This could happen anywhere where there are a low number of people that have been vaccinated, not just with churches," said Prather. "And so again, this is our plea to you, yes it Woodford we do have at least 65% of the adult population vaccinated but we can't stop there. That is simply not enough to create herd or community immunity."

The case count continues and has expanded into Woodford and Anderson county. However, Prather says since the incubation period with the Delta variant is shorter, people have discovered they were infected quicker than with other variants.

They've sent a memo out to local congregations about best practices while holding in-person indoor church services and encouraged the community to host vaccination clinics.

"In our county, the majority of people are vaccinated. But we have people who do not live here that work here, play here, worship here and so in order to keep our vaccination rate high and our infection rate low, the people coming in would need to be vaccinated to keep the rate of transmission low as well," said Prather.

Prior to the current outbreak, the county had very few cases for the past several weeks.

The average age of the infected individuals associated with this outbreak is 40.2, including children as young as age 6 and seniors who are 80 years old who made it through the pandemic without getting sick until now.