LOUISBURG — A total of 21 cases of COVID-19 have been reported at Faith Chapel Assembly of God in Louisburg, making it the largest active cluster of the virus originating from a religious gathering in the state of Kansas.
The data was included in the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s new cluster summary report, which was released for the first time Wednesday, Sept. 9. The new report names the education institutions, governmental agencies and business entities with active COVID-19 clusters.
The report will be updated every Wednesday. For some categories, such as schools, daycares and healthcare facilities, the specific entities will be named once there are five or more cases. For other categories, such as private businesses and meat packing plants, the entities won’t be named until there are 20 or more reported cases, according to the KDHE report.
The Miami County Health Department reported Wednesday, Sept. 9, that there are 61 active COVID-19 cases in Miami County, including a cluster at a faith-based organization and another at a place of business.
Jon Clayton, pastor at Faith Chapel Assembly of God in Louisburg, confirmed that there is an active cluster at the church, but he said most of those affected have experienced mild allergy-like symptoms or have been asymptomatic, and only three have been hospitalized.
Clayton said the church was practicing social distancing and had hand sanitizer stations set up even before the cluster began.
“All it took was one person to come to church sick,” he said, adding that the first person started experiencing symptoms on Tuesday, Aug. 25.
Clayton said the church did not have in-person services last Wednesday or Sunday and will not have them this Sunday, Sept. 13. The next possible in-person service will be Sept. 20, he said.
According to KDHE’s cluster report, there currently are four active clusters totaling 51 cases linked to religious gatherings across the state of Kansas. Louisburg’s Faith Chapel Assembly of God tops the list with 21 cases, followed by 14 at Plevna Church in Reno County, nine at Hannah’s House in Montgomery County and seven at Faith Tabernacle Apostolic Church in Geary County.
Once a cluster is considered no longer active, typically once there have been 28 days without the occurrence of new cases, the facility will no longer appear on the named list of active clusters, according to KDHE’s report.