New Albany, MS – After traveling to western Nebraska on a church mission trip earlier this month, 14 people apparently returned to Union County infected with coronavirus.
Gary Yates, who is director of missions for the Union County Baptist Association, told NEMISS.NEWS that the group, sponsored by the association, left New Albany June 5th, riding together in one bus. Yates said they were from seven different Union County Baptist congregations, and that at least one person on the bus was from a Pontotoc County church.
The mission group’s destination was Sidney, Nebraska, the county seat of Cheyenne County, which has a total population of a little under 10,000. Sidney is in the “panhandle” of Nebraska, nine miles north of the Colorado state line.
The purpose of the mission trip was to do repair work on a church building.
Yates said that, while in Nebraska, the mission group lived, ate and slept in the church they were repairing.
After the mission group returned to Union County on Saturday, June 13, Yates said “a couple” of the volunteers were not feeling well. He said one tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, June 15. Then the others who had traveled to Nebraska were tested. “All tested positive,” said Yates, “although a couple were inconclusive at first.”
Mission trip members uncertain how they were infected
Yates declined to say from which Union County Baptist congregations the 14 infected people came. NEMISS.NEWS did not ask for names of any of those in the group.
It is not certain how the Union County people were infected. Yates said that, before traveling, “We called ahead and found there was no COVID there.”
However, coronavirus cases were first reported in Cheyenne County in mid-April when a teenage girl from there tested positive after attending a funeral in Dunning, Nebraska, about 200 miles northeast of Sidney. The Nebraska health department says that, to date, there have been 13 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Cheyenne County, but no deaths thus far from the virus. NEMISS.NEWS was not able to determine how much coronavirus testing has been done in Cheyenne County.
Yates said that a man from Louisiana, who had also participated in the mission project in Nebraska, tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to Louisiana.
It is not known how many people from Louisiana or other states were involved in the church repair project in Sidney, nor how many total people were living and eating in the church.
Baptist Mission Director Yates told NEMISS.NEWS that none of the Union County mission trip members were seriously ill or required hospitalization and that all appear to be recovering.
“We didn’t go and do dumb things,” Yates volunteered, “but we went out and shared the Gospel like the Bible commanded us to do.” He said the community is divided on whether the trip should have been made.
PLEASE! Learn how everyone is a link in the COVID-19 chain before deciding to refuse wearing a mask, sponsor or attend large parties, plan or participate in group trips, patronize restauranats and other business that are not following safety guidelines: https://www.nemiss.news/whats-coming-an-epidemiologist-speaks-plainly/
WHY won’t Mississippians do the simple things? MS State Health Officer is worried.
Covid-19 coronavirus, New Albany MS, Northeast MS news, Union County Baptist Association, Union County MS