As many of you already know the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus has been proven to be more contagious than earlier forms of this virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) described Delta as more transmissible than the common cold and influenza, as well as the viruses that cause smallpox, MERS, SARS, and Ebola—and called it as contagious as chickenpox. (https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/5-things-to-know-delta-variant-covid)
From what we know so far, people who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus appear to have strong protection against Delta compared to those who aren’t. Recent data on “breakthrough cases, from the Kaiser Foundation (while based on limited available data) put these cases at well below 1% in the United States, and effectively 0% for severe illness and death. But anyone who is unvaccinated and not practicing preventive strategies is at high risk for infection by the new variant, doctors say. Therefore, the leadership of Hope United Church of Christ continues to strongly urge everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated needs to do so.
Our leadership is continuing to monitor the information available to us regarding increased positive cases and rising hospitalizations in Linn County, the State of Iowa, and across the country in order that we might make the best decisions regarding protocols needed for the safety of all who use our building, worship with us, and participate in the programs and ministries of our church.
At this time, we are not changing our protocols for worship, which are:
- If you are fully vaccinated, no mask or ;physical distancing is required
- If you are not fully vaccinated, masks and physical distancing is required
- If you are sick, please stay home
- If you are in a vulnerable group, please wear a face covering
- Wash your hands often
Our Worship and Music Committee, in consultation with the COVID-19 Task Force (Julie Anderson, Andrew Buck, Cathy Evers, and Tod Walker), will be addressing this situation at their upcoming meeting on Thursday, August 19.
If the situation becomes more critical, our attention will be directed to making quick and immediate decisions to keep all as safe as possible.