Cases of COVID and hospitalizations continued to dramatically increase in the last week in NC with the Delta variant continuing to drive the outbreak. There has been an increase from 215 new COVID cases per day 7/1/21 to 6628 new COVID cases 8/13/21. The state’s positivity rate of COVID tests performed has continued to be much higher than the benchmark for the state (12.8 % this week with a benchmark of 5%). Hospitalizations have increased statewide from 571 on 7/16/21 to 2651 8/13//21 with 25% of these patients in ICUs. Vaccination rates have inched up but still only 48% of the NC’s total population and 50% of Guilford County’s total population (both numbers including all children) are 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 . Governor Cooper revised his earlier mask guidance to now recommend (but ultimately up to local school boards) 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. 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. Cone and the Guilford Health Department are now again requesting that appointments be made for vaccinations since the number of people being vaccinated has increased. There continues to be 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.
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.) Friends are reminded of the precautions we are recommending including social distancing for family groups and masking when circulating around the outdoor group and in the building. We will continue to hold un-programmed 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