Mi Coronavirus Vaccine page
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It has been interesting to get to see Bay City and Essexville in full summer swing; having moved here last year when everything was closed down, I have not yet experienced any of the festivals or gatherings or summer life of this area. I am glad that much of that has been able to happen again.
However, the COVID pandemic is not controlled yet. With the Delta variant (and, rising, a Lambda variant) sweeping through the nation as a more contagious version of the disease, hospitalization rates have been going up once again. The CDC now rates much of the nation at high spread (including the counties just to our south, as you can see on this map). Many counties, Genesee included, are beginning to suggest masks in all indoor spaces.
The governance board discussed masks at St. Luke’s the last time we met; several mentioned that they have begun wearing masks at their workplaces and in all public indoor spaces whether there is a mandate or not. Currently, St. Luke’s is not requiring masks for those who are fully vaccinated but this is subject to change as our own rates here in Bay County continue to rise. Please keep an eye on our Facebook page and an ear to our OneCallNow messages for changes in the masking policy.
Thankfully, vaccination rates have also been rising; if you have not yet been vaccinated and are eligible, please do so. You can find vaccination sites at this website. This is a tested and proven way to battle the COVID strains we currently have and to slow the mutation toward new ones. (There is a well-written article about protecting those who cannot get the vaccine here, as well.)
The vaccination rates in Bay County have stalled around 50%. Some of you have asked about singing in church, citing that other congregations have begun to do so. With rising hospitalizations and stagnant vaccination rates, the governance board and I agree that it is unwise at this time to introduce singing, a caution supported by The Center for Congregational Song that recommends at least 60% vaccination rates in a given area before resuming group singing.
I am aware of the ongoing grief and frustration of this reality and ask that all questions and comments about any of this be handled with grace. The leaders of this church and I are trying to navigate an ever-changing global crisis for which none of us were trained. I am in constant communication with fellow pastors across several denominations as to how they are approaching keeping their congregations safe and welcoming. The governance board and I thank you for masking when appropriate, for getting your vaccine, and for recognizing that we have to change with a changing world. Thankfully, God’s presence with us does not change, pulling us to worship and mission whether in a building or no, with masks or no, singing or no, hugging or no, online or no. The Spirit of Christ is still at work; may we answer the call to be so, too.
Rev. Jenaba D. Waggy