The CDC is currently closely monitoring an outbreak of a respiratory disease called COVID-19 (known commonly as coronavirus) which was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China late last year.
According to the CDC, the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is low, but everyone can do their part to help stop the spread of this emerging public health threat.
At the Bay Area Christian Church, we see thousands of people walking through our doors each week. We understand that because churches are social organizations, it’s important for each of us to do our part to stop the spread of viruses and to protect our friends, fellowship, and community. When one person catches a virus it will affect many others unless we are wise about how we handle it.
Here are some important recommendations from the CDC to help stop the spread of COVID-19. For those who are returning from China or international travel, please follow these guidelines for returning safely to the fellowship.
1. Cancel travel to China and South Korea
The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to the People’s Republic of China (this does not include the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, or the island of Taiwan).
Additionally, the CDC currently recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to South Korea.
2. Take everyday preventative actions to help stop the spread of germs
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- 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.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- 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 product.
3. If you have to visit China:
- Practice “social distancing” for 14 days on your return, even if you have no symptoms. This includes remaining out of public places where close contact with others may occur (e.g. shopping centers, movie theaters, stadiums), workplaces, schools, and public transportation.
- Please also remain out of large gatherings (including church services) until the potential incubation period has passed.
- Monitor your health for 14 days on your return in compliance with CDC staff instructions.
4. Check CDC website before international travel
Stay up to date with CDC’s travel health notices related to this outbreak if you plan to travel to countries other than China where the outbreak has occurred. Travel notices will be updated as more information becomes available.
5. Stay informed
This is an evolving situation. CDC is updating its website daily with the latest information and advice for the public. It also has free communication resources like posters, videos, and fact sheets available for use and distribution.
Practicing these recommendations will help keep us and our community safe and healthy.