What is the COVID-19 Task Force watching?
Part of the job of the COVID-19 Task Force has been to gather data, recommendations and information about the virus from many sources so that we can make informed decisions and fully understand the scope and risk of the COVID-19 pandemic. But if you do a Google search for COVID-19, you can easily be overwhelmed. So several of us on the task force have gathered a collection of trusted sources to follow, and we thought it would be a good idea to share that list with you so that you not only can see what we’re looking at, but also can inform yourself about the challenges this pandemic brings to the Mt. Carmel community and keep yourself and the community safe.
One big source of information is StaySafeMN. This is the official COVID-19 site operated by the State of Minnesota. From there you can find the guidance the state is giving to businesses, churches, restaurants, individuals and others to help safely face this virus, and this site provided the basis of the preparedness plan. If you’re looking for what rules are in place for going to a restaurant, for instance, this is the place for you. And you can see the plans for each phase of the reopening. This site also offers a lot of statistics and demographics that state leadership is using to guide their decisions. One key page is the Dial Back Dashboard, which shows the trends in positivity rates, testing rates, and case growth, among other factors.
For news and resources from the Minneapolis Synod of the ELCA, we watch this page. Not only has the synod had a Zoom conversation with Dr. Michael Osterholm about the risks of reopening worship, but the site has also proven very helpful in providing links to other resources, including governmental sites such as the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), ELCA church-wide links, and even some links to other synod articles with helpful advice on how to continue doing our church work right now. The synod has packaged a document from the ELCA that contains direct guidance on returning to in-person worship. In that document, you can also learn about what worship will look like when we return.
If you’re primarily looking for numbers, especially on a global basis, hit the Worldometer site for a good collection of tables and graphs. The WHO (World Health Organization) also has a useful dashboard for global numbers.
There are good sites with information on keeping yourself safe and how to get tested. These are mostly state sites, including the Minnesota Department of Health, the StaySafeMN site listed above, and even from the City of Minneapolis and hospitals in the area (North Memorial, Hennepin Healthcare, M Health Fairview, and others).
Finally, here are some other sites and information we’ve found to help you through this challenging time:
Everyone should be aware of whether they are at risk or not. If you don’t or need guidance, the CDC offers this page. It’s important to understand if any of your underlying medical conditions can contribute to experiencing severe illness from COVID-19. If you are at risk, you need to take stronger precautions to keep yourself safe.
We all need to acknowledge that this time is very stressful, and we may need help coping with our daily lives. The Minnesota Department of Health has a very good page with resources for a variety of situations including managing stress and mental health, finding resources to respond to food insecurity, advice for running common errands, and even tips for keeping children busy. Add to that a companion page on the StaySafeMN site, and you can find a whole range of assistance.
In addition, the MDH offers an excellent basic glossary of terms commonly used with COVID-19.
This infographic from COVID-19 Recovery Consulting provides an easy-to-read guide to risky activities. As you can see, in-person worship checks at least 3 of the main factors in exposure to the virus.
Again, there’s a lot of data and information out there that is informing the task force (and hopefully you) as we make decisions about reopening the building and keeping our community safe. As things change, we will communicate that to you along with decisions we make based on new information. If you have any questions, concerns, or needs, contact the church office via voicemail or email, Pr. John, or Paul Lathrop.
August 01, 2020
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