calendar January 13, 2022 in Bishop, Bishop messages, Communications, Public Health

As COVID Surge Continues, Stay the Course on Mitigation

A Message From Bishop Davenport

January 13, 2022

Dear Beloved,

As we enter the depth of the winter season, I want to remind you how important it is to hold fast to our COVID mitigation protocols for the safety of our leaders, worshippers, and communities. We encourage you to find safe ways to gather in person as well as offer complementary online access.

There is a popular misconception that Omicron is a “mild” variant. Yet this week the CDC released a forecast that there will be more than 62,000 COVID deaths in the next four weeks; that is more than 2,000 per day. In addition, scientists are learning more about the ways that COVID has long lasting effects on the body, causing or worsening respiratory, vascular, autoimmune and inflammatory disease and diabetes. It’s rare, but some children experience severe disease, and children at 2.5 times more likely to develop diabetes after infection. Not to mention the risks for older people.

I’m encouraged by signs that new cases may have reached a plateau in SEPA. Yet hospitalizations continue to increase across our region. With cases at more than double the all-time high, and with hospitalizations surpassing last winter’s peak, we have a long way to go before we will be back to where we were last Thanksgiving. (See charts below.)

I recommend to all of our leaders and congregations that you continue to make decisions informed by the guidelines I sent you in mid-December. In summary those recommendations are:

Experts recommend a layered approach to mitigation, with strategies working together to increase protection.

This pandemic continues to challenge and surprise us, and I do not think we have seen the last of the curve balls it will throw to us. I applaud your ongoing flexibility in adapting to the changing situation and the new revelations of medical knowledge in order that we do no harm to our participants and our communities.

I and the entire Synod staff are holding you in prayer as you navigate this pandemic. We appreciate your prayers for us as well.

Be safe!

In Christ,

Rev. Patricia A. Davenport, bishop