Cases of COVID , hospitalizations and percent positive COVID tests in NC have significantly increased in the last week, believed to be due to the more infectious Delta variant. These increases are more prominent in NC counties with relatively low vaccination rates, primarily in the southeastern and southwestern parts of our state. Vaccination rates did not change last week with NC still at 43% of the total population being vaccinated. In Guilford County 46 percent of the total population has been fully vaccinated. These figures are drawn from the NC Health Dept COVID Dashboard and vary somewhat from other national sites’ counting of cases / vaccinations.

Vaccine information remains much the same as in previous issues of the newsletter. Many doctor’s offices are starting to do vaccines in their offices but the Cone and Guilford County web sites continue to offer information and appointments if vaccines are still needed. The deadline for enrolling in an Affordable Care Health (Obama Care) plan has now been extended to August 15. Some additional subsidies have been added to make the plans even more affordable. The site to investigate insurance from this source is healthcare.gov.

No changes have been made in protocols/procedures at the Meeting House this week. Friends are reminded that as we gradually resume in-person activities, we continue to prioritize safety and inclusiveness for all users of our meeting house, both New Gardeners and visitors.

We are opening the building to small groups according to the capacity limits set previously. Group leaders can contact Sharon for reservations. All visitors should remain masked and socially distanced and follow COVID guidelines.

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 follow the guidance below for use of the meeting house:

  • Stay home if you have any symptoms of illness.
  • Meet outdoors, if feasible, regardless of group size; please bring your own chairs.
  • Reserve meeting room(s) in advance by calling the NGFM office at (336) 292-5487 or emailing office@ngfm.org ; note the capacity of room(s) you will be using and do not exceed maximum occupancy.
  • Optimize ventilation according to the instructions posted by the door of each room.
  • If your group size exceeds the capacity of available indoor space (posted by the door of each room), meet outdoors.
  • Mask and socially distance 6 feet from others, regardless of location or group size.
  • Do not sing or eat together indoors: this is among the least safe activities for unvaccinated people, even if they are masked.
  • Use restrooms one individual or family group at a time.

Thank you for your care and patience.
NGFM COVID Medical Advisors