1st Free Will Baptist Church and Coronavirus: What You Need to Know
First, don’t panic!
Second, wash your hands Regularly & thoroughly.
Third, and most importantly, Always respond to pandemics in a Christ-centered way!
News about the novel coronavirus disease—now named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO)—continues to dominate global headlines. Many Americans are understandably concerned. However, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), for most people in the United States, the immediate risk of being exposed to COVID-19 is thought to be low as it is not currently widespread in most communities in the U.S.
On January 31, 2020, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency (PHE) for the United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to COVID-19. On March 11, 2020, the WHO publicly characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. Today, March 13, President Donald Trump declared a state of national emergency, as well as Governor Mike Parson declaring a state of emergency in Missouri.
Below, some fast facts about COVID-19, and what you need to know.
About the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
What is COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause respiratory illnesses. Most of them cause illness in animals, but seven known types of coronaviruses cause illness in humans. SARS-CoV-2 is one of those viruses—it causes the illness COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 is related to other coronaviruses that cause illness in humans such as those that cause SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome).
What Are The Symptoms?
People who are confirmed to have COVID-19 have exhibited mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, coughing and shortness of breath. According to the WHO, some people may experience aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea—though these symptoms usually develop gradually after the onset of the illness.
How will someone know whether they have COVID-19?
Generally, the disease is spread from person to person. If you have not been within six feet of someone who has it, your chances of contracting it are low. Most confirmed cases have been in China. Presently, only the CDC can test someone to see if they have COVID-19. People who think they have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their health-care provider immediately.
What should I do to protect myself?
Since COVID-19 is so new, there is not yet a vaccine, nor are there medications to treat it. The CDC has posted key recommendations for preventing the spread of all respiratory illnesses. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; take appropriate measures when you are sick; and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
What Is 1st Free Will Baptist Church’s Response To COVID-19?
We must treat this virus with the seriousness it deserves… But at the same time, we must not give in to panic and fear; instead, remember that our faith in Christ and the hope of the gospel give believers a firm foundation in times of personal and international crisis. The coronavirus, as terrible as it is, provides a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate faith, courage, and compassion to our community.
We will continue to gather together as a local congregation (as a family), taking extra precautions to thoroughly clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces. And as we meet, we urge our church family & guests to follow the simple recommendations issued by the Center for Disease Control:
- Wash hands often.
- Avoid close contact with others who are sick (especially in affected communities).
- Protect others by staying home if sick, covering coughing and sneezes, and/or wearing a Facemask when sick.
- Understand the elderly, the very young, and those with pre-existing health conditions are at greatest risk.
We will continue to closely monitor the situation in our community, and continually communicate any updates about steps that we’re taking. While it is possible that certain programs/activities may be limited if COVID-19 spreads into our community, Sunday Morning Worship cancellation will only be considered in extreme circumstances.
Finally, We encourage our church family to pray for the following during this health crisis:
- Those battling the virus (both patients and medical personnel)
- Missionaries and international ministry partners
- Strength against fear and panic
- Leadership decisions and direction
- The hope of the gospel made clear to a frightened world
Blessings To You!
~ Pastor Joshua Kennon