August 2021 KAC COVID Re-entry Update

August 20, 2021

August 20, 2021 KAC COVID Re-entry Update and Letter of Concern

 

Dear Kentucky United Methodist Clergy and Laity,

The KAC Covid Re-entry Team expresses our deep gratitude to each of you and your congregations for the tremendous work you are doing to keep your communities safe during this unrelenting Covid pandemic.  Just like you, our team is monitoring vaccination rates, data  and guidelines from our public health resources.  Thank you for continuing to promote vaccination, wearing of masks indoors, masking at crowded outdoor gatherings and social distancing.  These steps save lives!

With a sense of urgency, we are asking each of you to pay very close attention to the new and real threat presented by the Covid Delta variant and the current public health crisis.

At this time, our great concern is due to the following:       

  • Delta variant threat is not being taken as seriously as needed.
  • Covid Fatigue
  • Risks to our children and youth - if they are under 12 years of age.
  • Unvaccinated over 12 years of age.
  • The dire stress and strain for our health care systems and health care providers.   
  • Limited hospital capacity and rising ICU bed numbers

We weep and lament the suffering and loss of life that is impacting so many individuals, families, churches, and communities.   

Because of the Delta variant, we are at a new place

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.

The virus is rampant, deadly, and circulating.  We must remain watchful, remembering that some features of worship and congregational life still present factors that favor transmitting the virus.

  • Singing
  • Choir
  • Small groups/Sunday School
  • Youth and children’s meetings
  • Close proximity events (worship, baptisms, communion, weddings, etc.)
  • Unmasking of individuals

Clergy, congregational leaders and re-entry teams should work closely to create communication plans for congregational members and the community. Based on local data and level of crisis, pivoting to online worship may be necessary.

  • 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. 

The KAC Covid Re-entry Team is here to help support your efforts with the following.

  • We will provide Covid Weekly Updates and Best Practices.
  • Watch for Live Q & A sessions coming soon to connect with a member of the team and health care professionals.

Kentucky Covid Dashboard Information Links

Covid-19 Layers of Protection

Covid Vaccine.

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 health care provider.

Masks.

  • 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

Covid Testing.

  • 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 health care provider or a public health professional.
  • Comply with the full 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: