I want to update you today on our ongoing response to COVID-19, and changes in the Covid Act Now website and reporting, and how we will be moving forward. As you may remember, we have been using CovidActNow.org as the external metric for our policy about how the church will reopen. As a country, we’ve arrived at a new stage of the pandemic, and guidelines for both reporting and assessing risk are changing, and the Board and I will be revisiting the policies developed in summer and fall of 2021 to determine how best to revise our policies.
These are a few of the considerations that we’ll be reviewing as we plan how we’ll proceed:
- Case numbers are no longer a trustworthy guide to how widespread COVID-19 is. The prevalence of at-home tests that are not reported have limited the usefulness of the reported numbers. The CDC and CovidActNow.org both have moved away from using those numbers in their assessment of risk in the community.
- Hospitalizations are now the more reliable way to assess risk. The number of people with serious infections that require hospitalization indicate the local community’s ability to respond to a serious outbreak. As of last week, only 3% of the hospital beds in Pierce County are filled by COVID patients as compared with 32% in January of this year. We have capacity in the county to respond to an outbreak.
- We are also mindful that any COVID infection has the potential for life-changing ongoing illness, so we will be proceeding with caution and care for those among us who are unable to be vaccinated, as well as those who are vulnerable to infection for whatever reason.
- Our worship space is well-ventilated, especially with our extra precautions. The number of people who can attend in person will be increasing, and we’ll be revisiting singing and other activities that were a common part of our in person worship experience.
- Finally, it will take us some time to reopen our poorly-ventilated downstairs. That means our children’s religious exploration, as well as our nursery care, will continue to be limited to our kiddie corner in the worship space. Personally, I’ve loved having our children nearby, and am grateful for the joyful noisiness that they bring to our worship.
We continue to offer our worship service online via Zoom and in-person. To join the service in-person, please remember to register in advance each week, so we can ensure distancing space in the sanctuary. High-quality face masks are also part of our current precautions to help provide a more safe environment to the most-vulnerable. “Principles, Purposes, and Possibilities” is our focus for this Sunday’s worship service and you can register for in-person worship here: https://rsvp.church/r/zPZ5RwFD.
Thanks to all of you for continuing to support us as the leadership, staff, and I figure out how we continue to create safe space for our religious community to inhabit!
Blessings on you all!
Rev. Dr. Linda A. Hart