As of this morning, Tuesday, May 3rd Orange County is the only county in our conference in the medium community level spread and the rest are in low. The COVID-19 community level for individual risk is at medium-level spread for Alamance, Durham, Orange, & Cumberland counties and at low risk for the rest of the conference area.
Two ways we are currently measuring COVID in our communities:
- www.cdc.gov — COVID community level spread (red, yellow, or green). This measurement helps to determine the impact that COVID is having on local hospitals. This is important because it helps us to have a better idea of how taxed our local hospitals are as a result of COVID. We want to do everything that we can to help ease the strain on local hospitals.
- www.covidactnow.com — This metric better measures the individual risk of contracting COVID in your local community.
It’s important to keep up with both of these measurements. Remember that the immunocompromised folks are still at risk and that the latest variant has the most impact on those over 65. Also, in the event that these COVID rates rise again in our communities then we need to be prepared to re-employee some of the preventative measures in our churches.
Be aware that the statistics for COVID are most likely underreported currently because more people are at-home testing. Therefore, sewershed information is probably a more reliable statistic for the amount of COVID in your community.
So how can we work to prevent COVID in our communities:
- Ventilation (through air filtration systems OR opening a window or a door in church spaces). This is a simple gesture that has a BIG effect in helping prevent the spread of COVID!
- High-quality masks for At-Risk Individuals. (N-95, KN-95 masks for those over 65 and those with immune issues). Check with your local health department for masks. Make sure your worship space is welcoming to those who wish to mask.
- Vaccinations Up to Date (everyone over 60 and those at high risk can have up to 4 total shots). Want to encourage everyone over 5 to have at least the initial 2 vaccine shots. There are many counties in NC where vaccination rates are very low, especially beyond the first vaccination shot which means that folks are not fully immunized against COVID.
- Make sure folks have access to rapid testing and antiviral access if they come down with COVID. These medications are typically available for anyone at risk (there are many risk factors). You can help folks access viral medicines through:
- Their health care provider.
- www.findcovidcare.com (Can access the medicine on average for $25)
- No internet or health care provider? Visit your local urgent care or ER.