Cartersville Medical Center has requested that pastors send this information to church members:
As the threat from the COVID-19 virus is amplified, so too are our efforts. Recently, the World Health Organization classified COVID-19 as a pandemic, and we are currently treating several patients for the virus. Also, the President of the United States declared today a national emergency over the coronavirus outbreak.
In the coming days and weeks, we expect more confirmed cases in the U.S., including some person-to-person spread. Now more than ever, it is essential for our community to work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19, particularly to protect the more vulnerable and high-risk members of our community. We have taken extra precautions to ensure the safety of our patients and staff, and we urge our community to do the same.
Dr. Gary Voccio, Health Director, Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Georgia District, recommends following the below CDC guidelines for community and faith-based organizations:
- Implement social distancing. Reduce activities (e.g., religious services, group congregation), especially for organizations with individuals at risk of severe illness. Offer video/audio of events.
- Determine methods to continue providing support services to individuals at risk of severe disease (services, meals, checking in) while limiting group settings and exposures
- Cancel large gatherings (e.g., >250 people) or move to smaller groupings. Professional and college sporting events as well as concerts should be cancelled or broadcast without audience participation.
- For organizations that serve high-risk communities, cancel gatherings of more than 10 people and stagger access to support services.
- Consider canceling faith-based and community gatherings of any size or move to video-accessible venues or postpone/cancel.
At this time, Cartersville Medical Center is recommending the cancellation of any in-person large public gatherings of any kind for at least the next two weeks, in accordance with CDC guidelines, and with further evaluation of the situation after 14 days. If you are able, we suggest moving to an online or streaming format until further guidance is available.
If you need more information on best practices for church services, the CDC offers up-to-date information here. There is also a checklist that includes best practices for pastors and church leaders, which may be helpful as you create a plan for the next few months. The situation is changing daily, so it is important to stay informed of new developments.
We also recommend that you continue to follow safety measures, including:
- Frequent hand-washing for at least 20 seconds
- Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Staying home if you are feeling ill
Thank you for your willingness to adapt during this time.
Chris Mosley, CEO
Mark Senger, DO, CMO
Jan Tidwell, CNO