Sunday, March 01, 2020

Letter from Bishop Gutierrez on Coronavirus concerns

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

I greet you in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. I am thankful to be your Bishop and to shepherd this flock. Daily, I pray for you. Always, I am concerned for your well-being; spiritual, emotional, and physical.

Some of you may have seen our posts on social media regarding the coronavirus. In an effort to reach a larger audience, I wanted to share this communication via email.

This week, Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) issued some guidelines and templated bulletins and leaflets for churches to use on the issue of the coronavirus. The full list is here. Individuals need to decide for themselves - at all times - with what they are comfortable. I trust the Priests and Sunday Missioners of the diocese to determine the appropriate changes in worship to lessen contact during this time.  This has been true for every season of flu we have had and true now.

According to the CDC, the best ways to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including COVID -19 are the following1:
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Stay home when you are sick.

Please note, these recommendations may change depending on the severity of the virus. These suggestions are offered along with my constant prayer for each of you.
The Rt. Rev. Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez
XVI Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania
1.       CDC. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published February 11, 2020. Accessed February 29, 2020.
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