The COVID Advisory Committee was established in July, 2020 by Church Council to make recommendations for safety protocols during the COVID-19 Pandemic. For over two years, the Committee has faithfully followed data, science, and global, national, local information as the Pandemic unfolded.
We have experienced and learned a lot. The COVID Advisory Committee’s role is to bring recommendations to Church Council based on current statistics and scientific evidence. We are also mindful and keenly aware of the importance of connection, relationship and spiritual nourishment for our congregation.
Those of us serving on the Committee extend our deepest appreciation to each of you for your patience and forbearance during this tumultuous and tragic time. We ask for your continuing patience and prayers as so many things seem “back to normal” and yet, data show that risks are still present and still disproportionately affecting some groups of people more than others.
The CDC continues to list WA and Whatcom County as "low" risk for community transmission of COVID. However, Washington State now includes Whatcom among several counties on the west side of the state that are "high" risk. The Whatcom County seven-day average infection rate is now 153.9/100,00. This is a three to four-fold increase above the rates in late March, early April. The trend continues upward in April. While hospitalization rates are relatively low, rates are slowly increasing. We will continue to monitor our local data.
Meanwhile, our Committee recommends that we keep wearing masks during worship for now, especially as many of us are resuming activities (larger gatherings, restaurants, travel) that may increase our risk of exposure and therefore, our risk of exposing others. Our willingness to keep masks on during worship helps make worship safer and more accessible, and helps avoid spreading infection to those who can least afford the health and financial consequences of illness. In this strange time, we can still live into our values of welcome, love, and justice.
Protecting each other, our dear ones and our community remains a top priority as we celebrate anew our gathering as a cherished church community.
Cheryll Blair, Chair
Rev. Sharon Benton, Rev. Davi Weasley, Cydne Cochran, Bill Henkel, Caryl Dunavan, Dr. Mike Massanari, Heather Shepherd