The Latest Information on
Coronavirus (COVID-19) response
March 2, 2020

As of now, there are no confirmed cases of Coronavirus Disease in Pennsylvania .

Download a fact sheet from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health:  Coronavirus Special Edition Health Bulletin

It is impossible to know if or when cases might be confirmed in our area, so this is a great time to begin considering the systems and preparations your congregation or organization has or can put in place.
Official guidance so far is the same as for the flu:

  • Cover your coughs/sneezes.
  • Wash hands with soap and water regularly and after touching doorknobs, faucets, etc.
  • Encourage staff and members to stay home when they are sick.
  • Make sure tissues, paper towels, soap, and hand cleaner are available in areas where people gather (not just in washrooms).
  • Routinely clean surfaces and items that are frequently touched, such as doorknobs, faucets, and telephones. Wipe these surfaces with a household disinfectant, following the directions on the product label.
  • Seek medical attention immediately if you have symptoms.

Should health officials determine it is necessary to curtail public gatherings, consider what is required to keep your congregation operating:

  • Explore ways to share your services via Internet with people who are absent, perhaps by live streaming your worship/Bible study.
  • Platforms such as Zoom or Skype allow you to broadcast worship or to have a group participate in an online meeting or class.
  • Create a church YouTube channel and set up a computer with camera to stream to YouTube.
  • Video sermons and post them to your website and Facebook page.
  • Sign up for an electronic service to receive donations, such as tithe.ly, and teach people how to make gifts online when they are not at church.
  • Explore ways that you can gather virtually. Simple worship/devotions can keep your community connected should gathering in person be unadvisable. Examples include: Sharing worship, prayer, or bible study by Zoom or Skype, or a conference call.

Other considerations for your church leadership:

  • Make plans for how worship and programs can continue should your pastor, musician, or other key staff become ill.
  • Create plans to enable your staff to work remotely if that becomes a necessity.
  • Review your organization’s continuity of operations and communication plans in context of pandemic. This includes how your church or community makes decisions.
  • Advise your staff and clients and members to review their family emergency plans. For more information go to https://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/FamEmePlan_2012.pdf.
  • Take time to prepare now. View the PA Emergency Preparedness Guide.

Lutheran Disaster Response – Eastern PA, a ministry of Liberty Lutheran, is partnering with public health and emergency management agencies and will keep us informed of updates.
Southeastern PA Synod, ELCA | ministrylink.org