From the FPC COVID Re-Entry Task Force for Sunday Services
Given the surge of Omicron cases in Alamance County and the concomitant impact on our community’s health care services, please sit in every other row to maintain physical distance when attending services through the end of January 2022. The RETF will re-evaluate this policy in early February.
Order free at-home COVID tests here: https://www.covidtests.gov
Update from January 5
Little did any of us think when the FPC COVID-19 Re-Entry Task Force assembled for the first time in early June of 2020 that we would still be reviewing situations and providing guidance in early 2022; that we would still be monitoring the effects of a worldwide pandemic. But here we are…
An Observation …
Many, if not all of us, are tired — tired of the three W’s (especially the masks), tired of hearing about testing, vaccines and boosters, tired of limitations on what we call a “normal” life, tired of the disruptions in supply chains and tired of the need to engage in a COVID risk calculus whenever considering participating in an event, a meal, a family gathering, traveling, attending school or church, etc. We are tired.
And while we wish we had a swift and simple solution to this persistent, wearying and seemingly interminable pandemic — we do not. The only way forward is through — one day at a time. But we are not alone — for we are a caring community in Christ and it is in that context the COVID-19 Re-Entry Task Force offers this guidance.
The Path Ahead …
Both the highly transmissible Omicron variant along with the previously dominant Delta variant continue to circulate in North Carolina. We are experiencing unprecedented case numbers and the associated impacts upon healthcare and community services. To mitigate risk and do our part to limit further societal effects, we must continue to avail ourselves of the tools we have at hand. This is our new normal and remains the prudent, caring approach for the foreseeable future.
So as we are joyously returning to two services each Sunday, we continue to encourage engaging in proven public health behaviors, both while at FPC but also in your everyday life.
- Engage in the three W’s — Wash Hands, Wait Apart and Wear a Mask.
- Continue to wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer.
- Exercise a mindful physical distance, especially in crowded public settings, recognizing that distance can have a role in reducing your risk in breathing in exhaled viral particles produced by those around you.
- Wear a face mask in public, especially when you do not know the vaccination or exposure status of those around you. More specifically, use multilayer disposable masks that are more effective at blocking viral particles. With the highly transmissible Omicron actively circulating, cloth masks alone are no longer sufficient. Public health experts recommend using disposable masks (including N95, KN95, KF94, and three-ply surgical masks). Retail and online vendors have ample supply.
- When wearing a face mask, please make certain the mask completely covers both your mouth and your nose. Viral particles are released from both. Wearing masks provides protection to others from what you may exhale as well as helps to reduce your inhalation of what others may exhale around you.
- As a reminder, if you are on the church campus, please wear a mask. This helps to protect our children in the daycare center as well as our church staff. The only exception should be during the time you may be eating or drinking but when finished, please replace your mask over your mouth and nose.
- If you are not yet vaccinated, please consider doing so. Please encourage every eligible member of your family to also be vaccinated.
- If you’ve been fully vaccinated*, but have not yet gotten a booster, please do so as soon as you are eligible. (*Current definition of fully vaccinated — 2 full weeks after second doses of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or 2 full weeks after the single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine; you are booster eligible 5 months after the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 6 months after the second dose of the Moderna vaccine, or 2 months after the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.)
- If you have questions about the vaccines, either for yourself or your children, please talk with your health care provider about the risks and benefits. The vaccines are safe and effective and available for everyone aged 5 and above.
- If you experience a COVID-19 infection, connect with your healthcare provider concerning treatments during the active phase of your illness as well as guidelines about getting vaccinated and boosted after recovery.
- Actively monitor your exposure experience and follow current guidance regarding isolation and quarantine based upon your vaccination status (see table below).
- Be mindful of the variable risk for adverse outcomes from a COVID-19 infection among those with whom you interact and extend particular care around those who are unvaccinated, immunocompromised, or carry significant co-morbidity risk.
- Utilize testing to assess the presence of the virus. Testing 5-7 days after exposure or when you have symptoms can be useful in helping to guide your isolation behavior, potentially reducing community transmission. Additionally, it can also help you know when to seek access to the current treatment options including monoclonal antibody infusions and the soon to be available oral antiviral medications recently approved by the FDA and produced by Pfizer and Merck. If you test positive, contact your health care provider for additional guidance and possible treatment. Also, let those you have been around in the preceding few days know that you have tested positive for COVID-19 so that they may undertake their own quarantine/isolation/testing protocol.
All of these recommendations are based upon science and hold true to our congregation’s profession as a caring community. And as such, we hope you will continue to join in from a position of caring covenant, extending grace upon grace to one another as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.