Cases of COVID and hospitalizations continued to significantly increase in the last week in NC with the far more infectious Delta variant continuing to drive the outbreak. There has been a dramatic increase of cases of COVID in NC since July 1. The state’s positivity rate of COVID tests performed has continued to be much higher than the benchmark for the state. Hospitalizations are increased more than 4 fold since July 1. Vaccination rates inched up but still only 47% of the NC’s total population, 50 % of Guilford County’s total population (both numbers including all children) fully vaccinated according to the NC health department dashboard. The City of Greensboro has reinstated mask mandates indoors at City facilities regardless of vaccination status as of 8/5/21. Governor Cooper has revised his earlier mask guidance to now recommend that masks be used in school systems K-12. Vaccination continues to be the best way to protect against severe COVID infection and has been proven far safer than infection with the coronavirus. Vaccinations are proving effective in decreasing illness and hospitalization even in persons who get breakthrough cases of COVID after vaccination, which was confirmed in a research report released late last week. Masking continues to be an option to increase safety in moderate or large groups and in indoor public settings.
Vaccine options remain much the same as in the last few months. Many doctor’s offices now offer vaccines in their offices, but the Cone and Guilford County web sites continue to offer information and appointments. There is now an option for at home vaccination. Caregivers, providers and individuals can schedule an at-home vaccination by calling 1-866-303-0026 or registering at www.ptrc.org/covid, which will trigger a call to schedule a vaccination. The deadline for enrolling in an Affordable Care Health (Obama Care) plan is now looming and will end August 15. Some additional subsidies have been added to make the plans even more affordable. There are even some free plans being offered for low income persons including those who were unemployed during the pandemic. The site to investigate insurance from this source is healthcare.gov
We will continue to hold semi-programmed meetings for worship on Sundays at 10 a.m. in person outdoors and simultaneously by Zoom and Facebook Live. This remains the safest way for a large group of people, vaccinated and unvaccinated, to be together. If bad weather threatens, semi-programmed meeting for worship will take place only virtually. (Check the website or Facebook page for weather-related changes.) We will continue to hold unprogrammed meetings for worship in person outdoors on Sundays from 9 – 9:45 a.m.; these meetings are typically quite small and can move to the meeting room in the event of inclement weather. Please see the attached document for guidance about use of other spaces in the meeting house for small group activities.
Thank you for your care and patience.
NGFM COVID Medical Advisors