We are making progress in the pandemic. More people are vaccinated, the Omicron surge is subsiding, and mandates are being relaxed, as we pray that a new variant does not come along.
During this time, we see more hope. Some respond with great joy and want to discard their masks entirely. Others are taking a more cautious approach. Some feel afraid to take off the mask that has protected them for two years. Whichever response resonates with you, it is important to maintain persistence in following the science and data in your community. You might remember my blog from September 2021 Patience Increases Well-Being. Once again, I ask you to continue to practice patience, with yourself and with others.
The CDC recently relaxed mask mandates and developed new guidelines based on the levels of new hospitalizations for COVID-19, the number of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and new COVID-19 cases. Based on these metrics states, counties and communities will make decisions about COVID-19 mitigation strategies.
The guidance has not changed; in areas of high transmission it is still recommended that all people wear masks in public settings. People who are immunocompromised, are close to someone at high risk of severe illness, are not eligible for vaccination, or who have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, should also wear a mask. Gerald Harmon, MD, President of the American Medical Association addressed this concern and further stated, "In light of those facts, I personally will continue to wear a mask in most indoor public settings, and I urge all Americans to consider doing the same, especially in places like pharmacies, grocery stores, on public transportation — locations all of us, regardless of vaccination status or risk factors, must visit regularly," (Becker’s Review, February 25, 2022)
What does this mean for your congregation?
- You can find the risk level and CDC recommendations for your county by checking CDC ‘s COVID by county.
- Prayerfully consider the health and wellness of people in your community and remember to care for one another and the most vulnerable before changing your guidelines for indoor worship. Let us celebrate the progress, persist in protecting one another, and practice patient loving kindness with the grace of God.
MA Latest Guidance: Wear a mask if you are not vaccinated, are immunocompromised or in close contact with someone who is at risk of severe illness.
RI Latest Guidance: Indoor masking continues until March 4, 2022, at which time local communities may implement their own policy.
Debbie Ringen supports the Conference vision to make God’s love and justice real through wellness ministry at the Conference and local church level. In addition to providing resources, educational workshops, blogs and networking opportunities, she is...