Church Service November 15th
This week we learned that Sacramento County has been moved into the very high, “Purple” risk level related to COVID exposure. At the purple level we are prohibited from indoor worship. At the same time the temperature has been dropping significantly. As a result, we will have a virtual service at 10:00 am on November 15th. Please see the link below to sign into the service.
For your planning, we anticipate conducting Sunday services virtually for a while. Please appreciate we have done a lot of work to be prepared when there is an opportunity to regather indoors. But right now, that is not an option.
Finally, further in this newsletter is an article that Dr. Michael Chapman has written. He has been part of the Regathering Committee and has generously shared his medical opinion on indoor regathering. Please take the time to read Mike’s comments.
November 10, 2020
To: My fellow parishioners at St. Clements Episcopal Church of Rancho Cordova
From: Michael W. Chapman, M.D.
In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been asked by the Vestry of St. Clements to provide you my opinion regarding holding in-person church services.
All decisions regarding medical care and disease prevention involve balancing the risks of an action against the benefits.
The benefits of meeting in person are obvious to all of us. The risks, as of today, for transmission of the COVID-19 virus and becoming seriously ill are substantial.
As you all know the United States, as well as Europe and most of the world, is experiencing a dramatic increase in cases. In California we have had 984,682 cases with 18,070 deaths. Sacramento County has had 28,677 cases with 514 deaths. Yesterday our county had 477 new cases and one additional death. In many parts of the United States hospitals are running out of beds and personnel to care for patients who are seriously ill with the COVID virus. We need to avoid such a catastrophe here in California.
Currently Sacramento County is experiencing a spike in cases with 7 new cases per 100,000 population daily and test positivity rate of over 8%. As a result, the State of California has placed Sacramento in the highest risk, “purple” category. For churches, indoor services are forbidden, and outdoor services can be held but only with strict limitations and mitigation procedures such as our Re-gathering committee has already implemented.
Because of the makeup of our congregation a large number of us are in the high-risk category for death from the corona virus. And, do not forget, that many of those who recover, even if young and healthy, experience long term bad effects on brain, lung and heart function.
On that basis, we cannot and should not hold inside services for the foreseeable future. Outdoor services are not practical now as winter is upon us and it is too cold outside. In any case I do not recommend even outdoor services until the pandemic slows considerably.
From the standpoint of indoor services, I advise that we do not hold them until our five-county area experiences no new cases for a period of at least two weeks. This is a conservative recommendation but gives us the best chance of avoiding the death of one or more of our fellow parishioners.
The new vaccines from Pfizer and other companies offer much hope but I do not anticipate that they will be widely available for folks such as us until next summer.