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Arkansas church suspends in-person service following surge in COVID-19 cases

Asbury United Methodist Church reported 4 positive COVID-19 cases Thursday, as each of those members are fully vaccinated, the pastor has growing concerns.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Asbury United Methodist Church in Little Rock reported 4 positive COVID-19 cases Thursday. As each of those members are fully vaccinated, the pastor has growing concerns moving forward.

"You know, of course we are always concerned when someone contracts COVID-19,” Hammett Evans, senior pastor, said.

Evans said the four members tested positive after the July 4th service and now the church is having to adjust as the number of COVID-19 cases rise.

"We are going to suspend in-person worship,” Evans said.

The church pews will be empty once again as Asbury United Methodist works to combat further spread of the virus.

Other churches in the area could also follow suit.

"We use an Arkansas Conference COVID-19 dashboard and it tells us when we get in the red zone, and it did that overnight,” Evans said.

The church isn't sure how long the suspension of in-person services will last. Evans said it's all up to the number of cases reported in Pulaski County.

While they are out of the building, church leaders plan to discuss making other changes.

"We will also be reviewing our protocols in light of this new variant,” Evans said.

All of the church staff members have been fully vaccinated; however, several of the church preschool staff were not until the Delta variant started growing concerns.

"Some of them had been hesitant, but all of them were vaccinated today,” Evans said.

As unvaccinated children and vulnerable adults are actively in the building at the preschool, anyone who visits the church must wear a mask inside at all times.

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