Covid Update: Is your Church in the High Risk Zone?

Covid Update: Is your Church in the High Risk Zone?

This past week has had records set in the current Covid surge. We keep seeing new records across our region and across the country in terms of daily new cases, hospitalizations and spread.  There are more places in our country spiking than we saw in the spring.  Hospitalizations are rivaling the height of the pandemic in the spring.  The number of towns in our region who are entering the ‘red zone’ of cases and spread keeps magnifying each week. 

We have also seen our state officials citing in person worship gatherings are a source of Covid spread in each of the states of our Conference.  Each state along with the CDC are raising concerns, and in many regions are rolling back to earlier phases of opening protocols.  And while we are seeing new treatments emerge, vaccines on the horizon and the death rate dropping, we are also seeing an alarming surge.   It’s a new reason to flatten the curve by staying safe and staying home.

Each of the states within our Conference have developed their own way of assessing community risk.  In general high risk towns are those with a trending positive test case result greater than 10 in 100k.  Medium risk towns are those with a positive test case trending between 5-10 per 100k.   You can find town by town maps and charts here: Our Conference’s Phasing Forward guidelines already included some suggestions around in person in building worship correlated to local conditions. And, still, there is no one size fits all guidance because the incidence and rate of spread vary greatly from community to community within our geography.   However, if your church is in a community that is currently in a high risk zone we encourage you to adjust your plans and suspend in person in building worship until your community’s status changes.  We also encourage your church to strongly consider returning to virtual church worship and meetings if you are in the medium risk zone and are seeing an increase rate of spread.  If you are in a lower risk zones, we encourage you to stay in close communication with your local health agents and community officials to determine if it is advisable to gather in person.  Please also keep an eye on state guidance pertaining to how many people may be in a building at the same time. 

We know that this is a challenge.  We know that we are moving into a holy and special season in the life of the church.  And we know that this pandemic has been going on for a long time. Our recent survey of churches named ‘exhaustion’ as the most prominent experience in our churches.  (Again, please provide the support and break that your staff and leadership need so they can endure this for the long haul ahead).  Your Conference staff continue to work to develop, notice, gather and magnify resources that will be helpful, including worship and music resources.  Keep an eye on our website for ongoing updates and new resources.  And we continue to hold you all in prayers as we move together through this extraordinary time. 

We are in this and will get through this together, with each other and with our God. 
Marilyn and Don


Don H. Remick

Don Remick is Bridge Conference Minister.

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