March 30, 2021
At this time we are still moving forward with our plans to offer an in-person service of worship beginning April 11. However, the Transition Task Force and the Session is currently monitoring the deteriorating condition of further COVID-19 transmission in our area and we wanted you to consider the following items as you determine whether or not you should attend worship in-person.
The following chart will show you in realtime the most current snapshot of COVID exposure, transmission, and hospitalization in Genesee County. For more information please visit covidactnow.org.
1. As of March 29, Michigan is one of approximately seven states in the nation who are experiencing a very high risk of widespread outbreaks of COVID-19. (Data: covidactnow.org)
2. When the Session approved plans for an in-person gatherings in January, the average daily new case figure for Genesee County (per 100K persons) stood at 8. It is presently at 56.5. This means that, as of today, our county is seeing over 225 new cases of COVID-19 per day. (Data: covidactnow.org)
3. Another troubling statistic is the rising positive test rate. Ideally, this number would be below 5% and declining as we were beginning to see in January and early February this year. However, the positive test rate for Genesee County is currently 15.4%, a figure that has risen steadily over the past six weeks and is nearly as high as the winter surge in November and December last year. (Data: covidactnow.org)
4. Most pressing, however is the ICU capacity of our region’s hospital and medical centers. As of today, our hospital ICU beds are at 98% capacity (152 beds filled out of 156 available). Additionally, since January, the number of hospitalized COVID patients has increased over 400%. (Data: covidactnow.org)
5. There are positive signs in the midst of this new wave of COVID-19, however. Over 23% of eligible county residents have received at least 1 dose of an authorized vaccine and 13.5% of eligible county residents are considered “fully vaccinated.” (Data: covidactnow.org). Additionally, our county has done a remarkable job opening up vaccinations so that as of now anyone 18+ can get an vaccine appointment in the next couple weeks. If you have not yet been vaccinated, we strongly urge you to get a COVID-19 vaccine ASAP so that together we can help our community end this pandemic. To secure a vaccine appointment for yourself, a family member, a neighbor, or a friend, please e-mail our Local Mission Resource Coordinator Kim Skaff ASAP.
As we prepare for our first in-person gathering on April 11, you need to be aware that this event is a public, indoor event in a public place for which we are not mandating that every participant be fully vaccinated (though we strongly recommend it!). While we are taking stringent measures to (1) ensure all attendees wear masks throughout the service and remain adequately distanced, (2) providing a contact-less Sunday service, and (3) drastically limiting the riskiest indoor activities (eating, singing), we cannot mitigate all risk for those choosing to attend this service.
In the event that our plans for in-person gatherings must change due to factors outside our control, we will update the church Facebook page and website. Please check these information hubs frequently over the next two weeks as we continue to monitor this public health situation.