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UPDATE: From the ReOpening Task Force

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
July 8 2020

Greetings everyone,

I know you are all eager to hear about when and how First Central will begin to look and feel more like our familiar church home. It has crossed most of our minds that some openings are occurring, and we wonder, how that may happen for us. To help come up with some of those answers, our Reopening Task Force is working steadily to consider the factors involved in safely offering in person worship services, as well as other church activities. We meet weekly and have specific goals to consider each time. This time, we will begin to look at your responses in the surveys that were distributed last week. If you haven’t sent yours in, please do that as soon as possible, because it is an important part of the information, we need to further develop the plan.

One of our goals is to keep our congregation informed about the important considerations involved in these decisions and to help each person make their own decisions about when it may be best for them, as an individual, to stay home, even when we do offer in person worship services.  As the Task Force has progressed, we have reviewed guidance from the Douglas County Health Department and the CDC, guidance from local and state government offices, and plans from other churches. We have made a commitment to consider both the spiritual/emotional needs and the health/safety of our church family, and to keep you informed so that you can make decisions about when you may need to stay home for your own health and safety. Following are some of those consideration.

According to the CDC, persons at highest risk for developing severe symptoms of Covid-19 include:

  1. Those over 65 years of age, with risks increasing as age increases. If all other factors are equal, the greatest risk is for those 85 and older.
  2. Those with underlying health conditions, such as chronic kidney disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), a weakened immune system from a solid organ transplant.
  3. Obesity with a BMI (body mass index) of 30 or higher.
  4. Serious heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies.
  5. Sickle cell disease
  6. Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

There are several other underlying conditions that may create greater risk, so it would be important to contact your doctor about risks for any other conditions you may have. It is wise to consider any chronic health condition as raising one’s risk of severe illness or death.

The following advice from the CDC, requires consideration when protecting others from risk of contracting the disease. We know that Covid-19 spreads most easily between people in close contact (within about 6 feet) with one another. It is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks or sings, even if the infected person does not show symptoms. Therefore, until we know something has changed, when First Central offers in person activities, we will be asking participants to stay home whenever they do not feel well, use personal distancing, wear masks, and use diligent hand cleaning measures.

We care about the health of every one of our church family, as well as others with whom they associate, so as we move forward in preparing for the time that we have evidence that we can safely offer in person services and activities, please care for your health, the health of others and remember your church is solidly on your side.

Stay well.

Bonnie Harmon and the Reopening Task Force for First Central Congregational Church (UCC)