Message from FPC Jackson regarding COVID-19
Thursday, March 12
Dear FPC Family and Jackson residents,
The effects of COVID-19 are becoming a reality to us. The leadership of the Church has been reviewing guidance and updates from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) as they continue to closely monitor the outbreak of respiratory illnesses caused by this novel virus.
Many of you already may be familiar with some of this information, but some of you may not. Out of an abundance of caution, we are sharing this with you. Subsequent communications will address how this virus is impacting the Church in its worship and ministry, and what steps the Church is taking in response.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus that causes flu-like illness ranging from mild to severe, with symptoms of fever, coughing, fatigue and difficulty breathing. The CDC and MSDH are working to detect, contain and limit the spread of cases in the United States and Mississippi should they occur.
How is this virus spread?
Like the flu, COVID-19 is thought to be spread person-to-person by close contact (within 6 feet) and by coughing or sneezing. It is thought to occur mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how flu and other respiratory germs spread. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Other possible routes of transmission, such as touching a surface or object that has been contaminated by the virus and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, are also currently being investigated.Typically, with most respiratory viruses, people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
Can someone who has had COVID-19 spread the illness to others?
The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. That is why the CDC recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. It can mimic flu symptoms including fatigue. COVID-19 differs from the flu because it is connected with close contact with someone who has had COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
How can I best protect myself?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, the Mississippi State Department of Health recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- 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 spray or wipe.
- 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 available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
As we deal with the health and medical issues related to the coronavirus, we also need to keep a proper Biblical perspective. During this time, please remember some of these basic spiritual truths:
- We should remember that God is sovereign in all things (Luke 12:7 “Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; …”
- We should walk by faith, and not be led by fear (Psalm 46:2 “Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way …”)
- We should focus on our spiritual health as well as our physical health during this time.
- We should remember that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ! Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-38).
- While we should pray for those affected by and suffering from this virus, we should also pray that this virus might be “for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (John 11:4)
- We should look for ministry opportunities during this time – to our families, our fellow members, and our neighbors.