COVID Re-entry Team Update
posted on September 10
September 10, 2021 KAC COVID Re-entry Team Communication
*COVID PANDEMIC – DANGEROUS LEVEL IN KENTUCKY*
Dear Kentucky United Methodist Clergy and Laity,
The KAC Covid Re-entry Team expresses our deep concern to you and your congregations related to the unrelenting and DANGEROUS COVID PANDEMIC.
The dire situation in our local and regional hospitals has reached a breaking point. Over 400 members of the Kentucky National Guard are being deployed to assist with the strained Kentucky hospitals. This is the largest deployment of the Guard for a health care situation in our history. This support is targeted to a minimum of 25 hospitals across our Kentucky Conference. There are critical staffing shortages in over 65% of our hospitals with EVERY hospital in our state in critical need of support and help. These are hospitals in your communities. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer!
Kentucky is seeing more desperately sick people from the Covid Delta variant than we have ever seen. There are nearly 4500-5500 cases daily. Deaths continue to rise and are exceeding 30-35 per day. The positivity rate statewide is over 14%. Hospitalizations are over 2,500 daily, intensive care units are at capacity with nearly 700 individuals and the cases are spreading among the most vulnerable – our children under 12 years of age who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated.
With a sense of urgency and deep concern, we are asking each of you personally, and as a faith community, to pay very close attention to the current real threat presented by the Covid Delta variant and the current public health crisis. There are specific things you can do to help.
- We are asking that all congregations across the Kentucky Conference request that in ALL INDOOR SETTINGS, INDIVIDUALS SHOULD BE WEARING A MASK. This includes vaccinated and unvaccinated persons.
- Please secure social/physical distancing in all settings for all ages.
- Masks at crowded outdoor gatherings.
- Promote vaccination among members and within the community.
We continue to weep and lament the suffering and loss of life that is impacting so many individuals, families, churches, and communities.
Our moral calling is to Love our Neighbors by Doing No Harm. Each congregation must prayerfully and courageously make immediate safe decisions related to the current public health crisis and its impact. We must strive for the health and protection of the whole faith body. We are called to be mindful of everyone in each decision.
Features of worship and congregational life still present factors that favor transmitting the virus. Please consider suspending these activities. If they occur for children and youth, please implement best practices as outlined by the Kentucky Department of Education. Guidance for K-12 School Operations for In-Person Learning
- Small groups/Sunday School
- Youth and children’s meetings
- Close proximity events (worship, baptisms, communion, weddings, etc.)
- Offer hybrid worship for everyone and seriously consider the risks of in-person worship. If in-person worship is occurring, mitigation factors must always be in place (masking regardless of vaccination status, capacity considerations, social distancing).
- Stay vigilant and promote best health practices for individuals, including remaining at home in the event of any kind of illness. Clergy, staff and congregants should stay home if ANY symptoms of illness are present, even if they seem mild. Our health practitioners are finding too many people who excused themselves from quarantining because they just thought they had “allergies” only to find out it was COVID.
- Address misinformation directly when you are aware of it in your congregation.
- Provide accurate information about mitigation efforts (vaccines, masking, social distancing).
- Closely follow state and federal guidelines and executive orders published to assist with the public health crisis.
Kentucky Covid Dashboard Information Links
Covid-19 Layers of Protection
Kentucky Health Officials urged Kentuckians to get vaccinated if they haven’t already, as the Delta variant spread is growing among unvaccinated individuals. The KAC Covid Re-entry team further recommends everyone, in consultation with their health care provider, to pursue vaccination for their health and safety, including children 12-16 years of age. Information and locations for vaccines can be found here Covid-19 Vaccine Information
COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting serious disease.
Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?
In general, people are considered fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
If you don’t meet these requirements, regardless of your age, you are NOT fully vaccinated. Keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated.
If you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may NOT be protected even if you are fully vaccinated. You should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people until advised otherwise by your healthcare provider.
- Churches should follow all state and local mandates related to wearing masks to mitigate the spread of the Covid variant.
- At minimum, the Kentucky Department of Education guidelines should be instituted. All individuals vaccinated and unvaccinated should wear mask at all in-person congregational events. Please review the following as a guide.
- Guidance for K-12 School Operations for In-Person Learning August 10, 2021
- Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Places to get tested in Kentucky. COVID-19 testing
- Follow guidelines related to Covid exposure. CDC recommends that anyone with any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 get tested, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection. If you get tested because you have symptoms or were potentially exposed to the virus, you should stay away from others pending test results and follow the advice of your healthcare provider or a public health professional.
- Comply with the full isolation and quarantine – even if symptom free.
Kentucky Covid Website
This website is Kentucky's central resource for all COVID-19 information and guidance. The COVID-19 Hotline – (800) 722-5725 – is a service operated by the health care professionals at the KY Poison Control Center who can provide advice and answer questions.
Click the following links for information on:
- daily incidence rate (red zone) maps
- COVID-19 daily reports
- COVID-19 testing
- Healthy at Work guidance
- RED ZONE RECOMMENDATIONS See red zone counties here. See red zone county recommendations here. See school guidance based on color-coded zone here.