Updated March 12, 2020. These guidelines are subject to change as the situation develops.
The best source of information on the COVID-19 virus is NOT the local or international media, but rather the World Health Organization and BC Centre for Disease Control.
On March 11, the World Health Organization characterized the COVID-19 virus as a pandemic. With this new information, governments around the world are being asked to dramatically increase their proactive efforts in reducing the spread of this disease. Although the risk to Canadians remains low, the number of confirmed cases across the country continues to rise.
Also on March 11, Premier John Horgan, BC provincial health officer Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health met via conference call with 128 faith leaders from across British Columbia to update them on the Province's efforts and enlist their help in those efforts. The unprecendented nature of this meeting is indicative of the important role government officials recognize faith communities play in such events.
During that meeting, Dr Henry stopped short of asking faith groups to not to gather for worship but this may become necessary if the situation changes. Trying to slow the progress of the transmission of this disease so that our health care system is not overwhelmed is an important contribution that we can all make.
It is important to emphasize that the following containment strategies are temporary. Unfortunately, we don’t know how long “temporary” will be in effect. We do know that there will be a time when we can resume familiar practices after the threat has passed.
1. Encourage social distancing
2. Do not share food
3. Practice proper hygiene & increase cleaning efforts
It is important at this time to be aware of the situation as it develops, but not to become overly alarmed. Throughout history the church has been an agent of calm, reassurance, and compassion. This continues to be one of the most important roles we can play during times such as these.
Check back here regularly for updates. We are monitoring the situation closely.