AABC and COVID-19
We are being inundated with the global and local news regarding the coronavirus, and it is natural to be concerned. This concern need not turn into fear as we trust in God’s sovereignty and care, heed the medical advice and protocols, and continually lift up our burdens and others before the Lord in prayer.
COVID-19 is a disease caused by a novel respiratory virus that is transmitted between people primarily via droplets (such as through a sneeze, cough and touching your face). This virus has up to a 2%–3% fatality rate.1 While 80% of those infected don’t develop severe complications requiring hospitalization,1 we do know that certain individuals have an increased risk of developing a severe illness and possible death, including those who are 60 years and older; those with chronic conditions like lung disease (e.g., asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), heart disease and diabetes; and those who are immunosuppressed.2 Because this is a new virus, new information is coming out daily and is constantly evolving.
To help our church family be informed, to minimize the spread of the virus and to protect our more vulnerable members, we have put together a new Health Response Team. I am meeting with them regularly to review the situation and to implement best practices for our church family.
Some changes that are occurring at AABC to decrease risk are:
- Increased prevalence of hand hygiene products, tissues and waste baskets
- Implementation of sanitization and disinfection practices before and after Sunday worship service
- Changes to some worship service practices
Some things that are under consideration include:
- Cancelling non-essential or non-sponsored church activities
- Livestreaming our worship services
Dallas County Health and Human Services has opened a coronavirus call center that has doctors standing by to answer people’s questions about COVID-19. It is open 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Monday–Friday at 972-692-2780. And should you feel you are sick with the coronavirus, please contact your respective County Health Department.
In the meantime, please know that there are some important things you can do to mitigate the risk of catching and spreading the coronavirus:
- If you have any fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, vomiting or diarrhea or if you are feeling unwell, please rest at home until you are fever/sickness-free for 24 hours without medication.
- Instead of hugging or shaking hands, it is appropriate under these circumstances to give a welcome wave or elbow bump.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer and rub until hands are completely dry before touching your face, before eating, after using the bathroom or after touching public surfaces.
- Sneeze or cough into your elbow or a tissue and wash your hands.
- If you are 60 years of age or older or have underlying health conditions, please exercise caution in attending large gatherings like our worship services and consider staying at home.
- For children, please follow general recommended practices during the cold and flu season. (e.g., frequent handwashing and not bringing children to class if they are showing any symptoms of sickness even if they don’t have a fever).2
During this disconcerting time with the rise of coronavirus cases even in our own cities, it’s easy to just think about protecting yourself or to think that you will recover quickly even if infected. Please remember that God called us to love Him—AND our neighbors—as you love yourself.
This Great Commandment (Mark 12:38-44) has practical ramifications:
- Commit to be a chain breaker. Should you be infected, make it a point to do what it takes to ensure that you don’t inadvertently pass it on to others who may not be able to fight off the virus.
- Check on your neighbors who are elderly or who have underlying health conditions. Call or knock on their doors to see if you can be of help.
- Look for ways to help those in need. Many common items like toilet paper, water, cleaning wipes, etc. are hard to find because people are hoarding them for themselves. Be open-handed with your resources so you can bless others.
- Pray for open doors to share the hope we have in Jesus. The frailty of our bodies and reality of death are on people’s minds more than ever before. Look for ways to lovingly share how their worries can be replaced by knowing Jesus as their Savior.
Let’s keep praying and looking for ways to love one another, and our neighbors, for their good and His glory.
2So far the data has not shown that other more traditional vulnerable populations like pregnant women and young children are at risk of severe illness. No deaths have been reported in this population and usual prevention measures that are used during the flu season should be practiced. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/pregnant-women-and-children.html)
Photo credit: CDC.