Covid-19 Update: When can we return to face-to-face worship?

All of us are anxious to get back to face-to-face worship services. We want to do so as soon as possible! The question is, when can we do it safely—not just for us but also for our community.
 
For the last couple of months, the COVID-19 numbers have not been good in San Antonio. Hospitals and healthcare workers have been pushed to the limit. City and county officials have urged businesses and churches not to return to face-to-face gatherings too soon. The Northside doctors who have been advising us during the pandemic have been in agreement: it is not yet safe for us to return to face-to-face worship.
 
The chart below shows where we are in the city as of today (August 8). Our overall risk level remains at severe to critical. The indicators we have most followed have been two-week trends, hospital stress, and the positivity rate (out of all tests conducted, how many came back positive.) All three of these indicators remain at critical levels.
 
Last week, in fact, 14.8% of those who tested for COVID-19 were positive. This number is way too high. The Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, among other health organizations, recommend that before reopening, the positivity rate should be 5% or less for 14 days. We are not there yet.
 
The good news is, the trends in our city over the past few days have been promising. We are encouraged. We are hoping the positivity rate will drop to 5% soon. The hospitals are still in stress, but if the number of cases ease in the coming days, the hospitals and healthcare workers will be able to better manage the crises they are experiencing.
 
We are praying hard that the risk level in our city will come down. We are anxious to be together. But as long as the risk to our members and our neighbors remains high, we will need to exercise patience. We will work to keep you posted on what’s happening in our city. You can always look at the local data here.
 
We recognize that the isolation many of us are experiencing is really hard. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of your shepherds or any of the ministers if you need someone to talk to about what you are experiencing. You can email elders@nscoc.orgministers@nscoc.org, office@nscoc.org,  or reach out by any method on the Contact page. Northside is filled with caring folks who can provide professional help or offer spiritual care . . . or just chat with you over the phone or stop and pray with you. Please let us know how we can help.
 
We will return to face-to-face worship as soon as we possibly can. In the meantime, please join us at 9am every Sunday for our worship together. Remain in prayer. Stay strong. May God grant us peace as we live every day in hope and in trust.
 
Blessings,
 
The Northside COVID-19 Response Team
 
 
City of San Antonio, Covid-19 Dashboard, (https://covid19.sanantonio.gov/About-COVID-19/Dashboards-Data), captured 8-8-2019
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