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A local health official said the Amish and Mennonite communities of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, have reached herd immunity from the coronavirus.

Allen Hoover, the administrator of the Parochial Medical Center, estimated that among the Amish and Mennonite communities in the county, as many as 90% of families have had at least one family member come down with COVID-19.

"So, you would think if COVID was as contagious as they say, it would go through like a tsunami; and it did," Hoover, an Old Order Mennonite, said, according to the Associated Press.

amish medical center

The Parochial Medical Center, which caters to the Plain sect community is seen on March 16 in in New Holland, Pa.
The communities reportedly proceeded with church services as normal by late April 2020, sharing cups at communion and offering holy kisses as greetings.

While Pennsylvania has continued to report several thousands of cases in recent weeks, Hoover said the medical center hasn't had a patient with virus symptoms in roughly six weeks.

Other experts have challenged the notion that the Amish and the Mennonites have reached herd immunity naturally.

"Herd immunity is only true at a given point in time," Eric Lofgren, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Washington State University, said. "It's not a switch that once it gets thrown, you're good. It'll wear off."

In December, Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, suggested the percentage of the population that needs to have coronavirus antibodies in order to reach herd immunity is somewhere near 85%.

Alice Yoder, executive director of Community Health at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, said vaccination shots are the ultimate saving grace. "The only true herd immunity that we can bring as a community is for people to be vaccinated," she said.

Nearly 13% of Lancaster County residents have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nationwide, 20% of the adult population has been fully vaccinated. The Amish and Mennonite communities make up nearly 8% of Lancaster County, the Associated Press reported, citing information from the Elizabethtown College's Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies.

Hoover could not be immediately reached for further comment.
Jeremy Beaman is a Breaking News Reporter for the Washington Examiner