As many of you know, COVID-19 cases are rising sharply across the country. Massachusetts is experiencing an equally high caseload of new coronavirus cases as we had in the spring. Norfolk County specifically is faring better than the Commonwealth overall, but is still on a significant rise. While there’s exciting hope from Pfizer and Moderna for their late-stage vaccines, we are likely months away from widespread distribution, if the vaccines continue to prove effective.
Since the start of November, I’ve personally heard of five households in First Parish that have had a positive test in their family or with someone with whom they’ve had “close contact” — including my own. My spouse is a social studies teacher at Wellesley High School, which has reported 13 positive tests in 11 days with likely in-school transmission. They have returned to fully-remote instruction until December. This is exactly why the Parish Committee chose to keep the building closed for church gatherings for the time being.
I’m writing this blog to implore First Parishioners to keep yourselves, your families, and your neighbors safer by following public health guidelines to the best of your abilities. COVID-19 is a serious virus that is particularly hard to track because of the high percentage of asymptomatic carriers.
Please refer to the Center of Disease Control for recommendations on how to prevent getting sick and how to manage special holidays like Thanksgiving (the CDC strongly discourages indoor gatherings of multiple households, for holidays or otherwise). The World Health Organization and other agencies continue to recommend effective, basic strategies to keep ourselves, our families, and our neighbors safer: wearing a close-fitted surgical or multi-layered cotton mask; regularly washing/sanitizing our hands; keeping physical distance from those outside our households; avoiding touching our faces; avoiding indoor gatherings; and, staying at home as often as possible. If you experience any of the symptoms of COVID-19, please contact your medical professionals immediately.
We know how hard it is to be living through this pandemic. Please reach out to Rev. Catie, Jenna, or the Pastoral Care team for spiritual and emotional support. You can also refer to the self-care resource document Jenna and Rev. Catie developed for more ideas on how to stay safer while caring for your emotional and spiritual health. First Parish is here for you!