The Latest: Small cluster linked to Southern Baptist meeting

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Health workers carry a coffin containing the body of a COVID-19 victim into an ambulance to taken for a burial, at a makeshift mortuary set up as hospitals overflow with infection cases, in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, Saturday, July 10, 2021. Indonesia is battling an explosion of COVID-19 cases that have strained hospitals in the world’s fourth-most populous country. (AP Photo/Trisnadi)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Health officials in Tennessee have linked a small coronavirus cluster to a meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention last month.

It was Nashville’s first large-scale conference after lifting restrictions on gatherings.

The Tennessean reports that Metro Public Health Department epidemiologist Leslie Waller said eight to 10 infections have been detected among attendees, but the cluster is almost certainly larger. Waller said it’s difficult to know how many other cases there might be because most of the more than 18,000 attendees live out of state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued an alert asking health officials in other states to contact Nashville health officials if they discover more infections that trace back to the annual meeting of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

Jonathan Howe, a spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, said the organization has not alerted attendees about the cluster and is working with city and state health officials to identify its next steps.

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