Your Wardens and I are evaluating the latest developments in the COVID pandemic with increasing
concern over what we are learning about the spread of the Delta variant. We've evaluated the CDC's latest advisory in light of our context and here is what we know:
The Delta variant is beginning to show up in Pennsylvania. For the week ending July 1st, the % Positivity rate was 1.0% and the Case Rate per 100K people was 0.73 - well below our targets of 5% and 25 cases respectively. For the week ending July 22nd, these numbers had risen to 3.2% and 2.57 cases. Essentially, both numbers have tripled in the last three weeks.
The Delta variant is not necessary more lethal than the original Alpha strain, but it is far more contagious. Infected people are carrying a viral level 1,000 times what was observed in the original outbreak. This means it spreads faster and easier than ever.
All of the vaccines provide a layer of protection, but they are not complete protection. They are very effective at protecting you against death, needing hospitalization, and long haul illness.
The CDC is observing data showing that vaccinated people may still spread the virus unknowingly with this strain.
The symptoms of Delta variant are different than the original Alpha strain. Loss of taste and smell is not happening as much with Delta.
What does this mean for worship at All Saints?
All Saints has erred on the side of loving our neighbors and doing what is best for the whole community. We know that worship can be a high risk activity because of being inside for an extended period, closeness of proximity, and the potential spread of aerosols by singing. We have worked hard as a community to reduce the risk of harm to our members throughout the pandemic.
It is our plan to continue in person worship but to require all persons worshiping inside the church to wear a mask over their mouth and nose for the duration of the worship beginning this Sunday, August 1st. We would rather be ahead of the infection curve than behind it and loving our neighbors means caring for all.
It is our intention to move worship outside as much as weather permits and to open windows for fresh air circulation during our indoor worship.
At this point, we will continue to allow for quiet singing behind your mask. We may need to revisit singing depending on how this new rise in cases trends.
What about Hospitality Hour?
We believe community is built over the "eighth Sacrament!" Our plan is to move Hospitality Hour to the lawn nearest the Valley Road entrance to the Parish Hall as weather permits. We'll plan to have tables and chairs set up on the lawn fronting Valley Road so that we can fellowship safely. In case of inclement weather, we are evaluating the Hospitality Hour on a week by week basis depending upon the positivity and infection rates.
We know this is a disappointing development in the fight against COVID but we know the mandate our Lord Jesus Christ ga
ve us to care for the vulnerable and to show love for one another. Wearing masks indoors when you are in mixed groups of people, staying home if you have any sign of illness (COVID or not), social distancing, washing hands & using hand sanitizer are all ways we show the love of Jesus Christ for each other.