CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) INFORMATIONWhat faith communities need to know about COVID-19
A JOINT MESSAGE FOR FAITH COMMUNITIES
From The Shelby County Health Department & Church Health
People at the highest risk of infection are:
- Age 60 or older
- People with COPD, asthma, emphysema, lung disease, diabetes, heart disease and those who are immunosuppressed
COVID-19 is twice as contagious as the flu, and the mortality rate is 10 times that of flu. That means it is ten times more lethal. There is now evidence that mildly symptomatic individuals can spread the virus.
Anyone who has a fever or a persistent, new and unexplained cough needs to stay home. People experiencing symptoms should call a health care provider for advice. We are still in the midst of flu season and actively testing for Flu A. Locally, 6 percent of primary care visits are presenting with symptoms. We believe these are a mix of Flu and COVID-19.
The best way to protect parishioners is to keep them out of harm’s way because there is no anti-viral treatment or vaccine yet. Conducting any programming possible virtually, or suspending, will protect the most vulnerable.
We recognize this is challenging, particularly with Holy Week approaching, but our local health experts believe this is the only way to protect their community. As faith communities, it is part of our calling to support the wider community. This is how the community currently needs support.
The CDC’s guidance is to limit gatherings to under 50 people and the White House recommends canceling or postponing in-person events that consist of 10 people or more. Our local health authorities are depending on the wisdom and prudence of faith community leaders to follow these guidelines and suspend all in-person gatherings.
RESOURCES AND INFORMATION FOR FAITH COMMUNITIES ON CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19
We encourage all Memphis clergy and faith leaders to join, as this group will serve as a resource for churches’ response to COVID-19. We will continue to discuss what churches should do internally and what faith communities can be doing as an outreach ministry.
Memphis Clergy COVID-19 Response serves as a resource for faith community leaders in response to COVID-19. We will share how faith-based organizations can adapt and continue to serve their communities.