Dear Baltimore Presbytery Community,
We are closely monitoring news and reports surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic, and wanted to share advice and guidance regarding presbyterian events, activities and worship, as they may pertain to your congregation.
As most of you are aware, the Coronavirus is now in Maryland. Although we have not reached the crisis level of other areas, as access to testing increases, the number of cases will increase respectively. Please do not let this panic you as some news outlets are doing. We encourage you to visit the Maryland State Health Department and the Center for Disease Control’s websites for information as it develops.
There continues to be very strict criteria for testing as available test kits are limited. At this point in time, the high-risk group includes those with lung conditions (COPD, Asthma), heart failure, renal disease, people taking immune suppressants, those with diabetes, and people aged 75 or older. With that in mind, here are a few updated recommendations:
- Refrain from taking cruises or traveling internationally at all. Domestic travel is fine if you are in a low risk group.
- Avoid large public gatherings if you are in a high-risk group.
- Carry your own pen to sign credit card receipts.
- Shop in grocery stores either very early or very late. You can also shop online and have items delivered.
- Continue aggressive hand hygiene by washing your hands frequently.
- Practice social distancing (maintaining a 6-foot distance) with most people.
- Money is filthy, so try to use credit and sign with your own pen. If you use cash, please wash your hands after using it.
- Avoid touching your face
- Clean your phone frequently.
- If you exhibit symptoms, call your doctor or medical provider before visiting.
Keep in mind, it is for the safety of others, not just ourselves, that we urge you to stay informed, exercise caution, and plan responsibly. Slowing the spread of the virus is nearly as important as stopping it.
At this time, we are asking pastors to use their best judgement scheduling worship or other events.
It is out of an abundance of caution that the Presbytery is relaxing any expectations surrounding group gatherings of any type. Please visit the Presbytery’s website or social channels for updates on this rapidly evolving situation.
— Jackie Taylor, General Presbyter