It is clear from all the reports that we are receiving that the cases of the COVID-19 virus continue to rise at rapid rates across our whole country, including South Carolina. To date over 272,000 loved ones have lost their lives to this virus, and studies now show that the cases have been much higher this fall and winter than they were in May and June when most of us were still in quarantine. Our Scientists and health care professionals have learned that 50% of the spread of this virus is from asymptomatic persons and in our state alone over 3000 cases are identified each day.
We continue to trust our pastors, deacons and local congregational leaders to make careful and wise decisions for their particular contexts and to follow best practices for keeping the people of God in our communities as safe as possible. Currently we are not making any additional recommendations regarding your individual congregations’ practices and worship but want to be sure you have access to the new findings from the CDC. We feel it makes sense for this time to once again carefully reassess where things stand in relations to this virus and to consider the rapidly rising numbers and what they may mean for our congregations, and for in-person worship services.
Attached is the link to the latest information we have from the CDC which is on our Synod website. These findings from the CDC reinforces the concerns for extended physically gatherings. Our prayers continue to join with yours that everyone will be kept as healthy and as safe as possible.
Please continue to practice good protocol of regular hand washing, mask wearing and distancing of a minimum of 6 feet. Quarantine protocols should be followed for any persons who are/were exposed to persons with the virus, and getting vaccinated, once it is available, is recommended to all for whom this is considered a safe option by their physician.
At the SC Synod office, we continue to follow all protocols and are only meeting via zoom. Your Synod Council voted in November to hold an online assembly in June 2021, and we are not having or expecting any Synod sponsored travel during this coming year until we can be sure that the vaccine is working for all people involved. At the same time, we hold close in prayer all of our sisters and brothers and look forward to the days when we can gather together in person again for worship and special celebrations. For this time, we give thanks for our healthcare workers and those essential workers who are keeping things moving, and we also give thanks for the many creative ways we have all found to connect with one another. We know that the promise of Emmanuel is our true gift of Christmas, and we can trust that we are never alone. God is with us! Thanks be to God.
Newest CDC Guidelines
With the recent record rapid increase of cases in South Carolina and across the United States, the U.S. CDC has set up stronger guidance about wearing masks and other recommendations.
On Friday, December 4, 2020, The CDC published a weekly report with updated guidelines recommending “universal use of face masks” when outside of your own home.
The CDC went on to say “face masks have been scientifically proven to prevent individuals infected with COVID-19 from spreading the virus, whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic.” They continued, “according to new estimates, approximately half of new COVID infections are being transmitted by people who have no symptoms, or are asymptomatic.”
As of December 4, 2020