As announced during today's service, the Vestry and I are postponing a decision to resume in-person worship until later this month. At the earliest, we would return on July 26, however, that date will be subject to change given the dynamics of the pandemic in our community. As of right no
w, it doesn't look particularly good for a return to in-person worship this month.
We will continue online worship for the foreseeable future, even when we begin to hold in-person services again. All group meetings other than Backpack Buddy teams (which are re-doubling their safety efforts) will remain suspended until our local curve is flattened.
While our community was able to
claim a mild local outbreak for months, the last four weeks have taken us down a much different path. Daily updates from our local hospital and state Health Department have signaled a rapid rise in infections that cannot be attributed to increased testing alone. To put it in perspective, we are currently experiencing a per capita spread that is so high and fast it puts us near the top of state and national lists of counties with fast-spreading outbreaks. A tool from the
Harvard Global Health Institute and others
shows up to date infection rates by County. Glynn County has the 10th highest per capita spread in the country, according to that tool. Even if the site's data is a little off from county to county, it indicates that our current situation is cause for concern.
For now, the infection is spreading more quickly through younger populations, which is keeping the fatality rate generally low, and even lowering it overall. But, more infection means more spreading, which also means more transmission to at-risk populations as well. Our local hospital is seeing daily increases in the number of COVID patients requiring medical treatment. The concern for all communities remains to prevent hospitals from exceeding their capacity.
Despite the lack of additional official local measures to combat the spread in our community (which cannot currently be enacted by state mandate), please heed the recommendations of infectious disease experts:
- limit your contacts with others
- maintain physical distancing when you do have to go out
- always wear your mask in public when around other people
- wash your hands properly and frequently
- be especially careful if you are at-risk or interact with at-risk individuals
My intent is not to scare anyone into panic, but to make sure we're all aware that we need to be even more vigilant in the short term until we get over this "curve". Pandemics are not about individuals but about all of us. It will take all of us working together and caring about one another to overcome this with as little major illness and death as possible. We who follow The Way of Jesus can do this. We have been prepared for and called to this kind of neighbor-focused mindset. We must now put it into practice in our community if we haven't already.
Your clergy and staff remain available to you by phone if you need us. Don't hesitate to call. Even if you just want to catch up and say hello. We like it when we get calls to check in as much as you do! Please care for one another and help those who are most at-risk and may not be able to get to or feel comfortable going to get groceries and supplies. We can help with those logistics, too, just let us know.
Please continue to be conscientious about your actions during this pandemic. This too shall pass. God remains with us no matter what tomorrow holds, and for that we give thanks!
The Rev. Tom Purdy
Almighty God, we entrust all who are dear to us to
never-failing care and love, for this life and the life to come,
knowing that you are
doing for them better things than we
can desire or pray for;
Jesus Christ our Lord.