A Word to the Church Regarding COVID-19

In aligning with government guidelines on how to prevent COVID-19 to spread, We, as church, want to emphasize how important it is for us to take a serious stance on church gatherings.

Recommendations to limit the spread of COVID-19 are:

•Church gatherings (Sunday meetings and Home Groups). The government has issued a strong warning to faith-based and community organizations to abstain from holding meetings. The National guideline is no gatherings greater than 10 people. Massachusetts has the 4th highest number of cases of COVID-19 in the country and we are expecting the number to increase exponentially. Home Group meetings or Sunday meetings are being cancelled. This decision is for the next 21 days (3 weeks). During this time, we will be sharing regular updates and making necessary changes as the situation changes. It will be reevaluated at the end of this period and it will be extended if necessary.

•Discipleship, companionship and church-related social gatherings. Although these gatherings may only be between a few people, it still operates under the same principle that meeting together could contribute to the spread of the disease. Even small group gatherings of less than 10 people have potential to cause spread of the disease. The reality is that many of us may be carrying the virus with no symptoms whatsoever and therefore could unknowingly be spreading it to those we’re in contactwith. Therefore, we STRONGLY RECOMMEND for the brethren to STAY HOME!

We also, STRONGLY RECOMMEND for the brethren to use Skype, Facetime or other tool to do discipleship, home group meetings, etc.

Disciples are encouraged to have those virtual meetings at least once a week to edify one another. The edification of one another cannot stop!

Now, it’s very easy not to heed these warnings for those who are young and healthy, but we all come incontact with those who are older or not as healthy. The medical community is in crisis.

World renowned hospitals are bracing for the total outbreak of this virus and running out of medical equipment to care for these patients. In Italy, doctors are faced with making decisions on who gets treatment and who doesn’t – essentially who lives and who dies. There, 341 people died in 1 day becauseof lack of medical equipment. We may face with these same moral and ethical dilemmas in the next few weeks. These guidelines and restrictions are not just for the health and wellbeing of the church, but for our friends, neighbors and fellow citizens. Ultimately, we are to fulfill the law of love which is to do good to all men. “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” Romans 13:1

The most important thing that you can do to help is to take this social distancing seriously. Although you may not be sick, you can still be a carrier of the virus and spread it to those around you.

Now is NOT the time to catch up with friends and be together.

The pandemic can seem overwhelming, but in truth, every person can help slow down the spread of COVID-19. By doing your part, you can make a big difference to your health, and that of others around you.

With COVID-19, the goal of social distancing right now is to slow down the outbreak in order to reduce the chance of infection among high-risk populations and to reduce the burden on health care systems and workers. The virus can still be spread by individuals who are carrying the disease but are not showing any symptoms, that’s one of the reasons why social distancing is so important.

Social Distancing Means:

•No hugs or handshakes

•Remaining 6 feet away from anyone exhibiting symptoms

•Proper hand washing anytime you enter indoors from outdoors or before eating

•Being in a group of 10 people or less (we however recommend you to stay home and don’t use this prerogative to promote gatherings)

Financial Advice

We believe that because of the actual coronavirus situation, it is necessary to express some concerns and alerts that will help us to be prepared financially. Each one of us must be prudent and diligent in order to be prepared for the worst.

The coronavirus has pushed the economy to its limit, however, the markets were already trending down even before that – meaning that a global recession is mostly unavoidable and many sectors will hurt for years.

It would be very wise for the brothers to save as much as they can to prepare for a possible moment of extended unemployment.

It would also be very wise and Christian for the brothers to save enough money to help other brethren that may need help during these tough times coming ahead.

Expect the house values to go down again so be ready to refinance when you can – the Federal Reserve Bank just cut rates down to 0% allowing for more people to borrow at lower rates than usual.

As Joseph, while in Egypt, wisely saved up during the 7 bountiful years in preparation for a difficult time, let us also be wise so that in case anything happens we can provide for our families and help our brethren in need.

Caring For Your Health

Because there is little to no pre-existing immunity against the new virus, it spreads worldwide. The virus that causes COVID-19 is infecting people and spreading easily from person-to-person.

What to do if you are sick:

•Typical symptoms of Covid-19 are:

-Fever

-Dry cough

-Shortness of breath.

-For most otherwise healthy individuals, the best treatment is to stay at home and care for yourself like you otherwise would with a bad cold or the flu. Only seek medical attention if your symptoms are worsening (for example if you have difficulty breathing). If you do need to go to the doctor’s, call ahead and followtheir recommendations.

•People at highest risk are:

-Older adults

-People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:

-Heart disease

-Diabetes

-Lung disease

WHO / CDC Basic protective measures against the new coronavirus

Clean your hands often

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

•If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 70% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

•Avoid touchingyour eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain social distancing

Maintain at least 2 meters (6 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

Clean and disinfect

Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. To disinfect:Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface. Options include:

•Diluting your household bleach.To make a bleach solution, mix: o5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water OR o4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.

•Alcohol solutions. Ensure solution has at least 70% alcohol.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority. Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider

Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.