Among the preparations for Hurricane Douglas and the mixed messages on reopening public schools, it was easy to miss the spike in COVID-19 spread which occurred this past week:
Out of the last six days, COVID spikes occurred in four of them. These spikes are concerning as they are happening before tourists return in large numbers. In short, these numbers indicate that COVID can spread widely just among us who make our home in Hawai'i.
For sure, the spread is not even across the islands with most of these new cases having developed on O'ahu. Still the numbers force us to ask at what time will our pastors and church leaders need to close church campuses that might have been reopened or are in the process of reopening?
The conference office recommendations include that each congregation develop its own regathering plans. I assume that in those plans there is a number that has been discerned as the point of needing to reclose opened campuses for the well-being of the community. That number might be when COVID-19 spikes at such and such a number or above for so many days in a row, at which point it is no longer a spike but a constant spread in our communities. Or, the number might deal with total COVID-19 cases so that when the total cases reach such and such a number, we will reclose campuses.
If your congregation's COVID-19 plan does not include such a number, I encourage conversations on this topic so that you will know that number if the time comes. Proverbs 18:15 reads, "The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out." This is the time for seeking out knowledge and acting wisely as we discern safety and risks.
David K. Popham, Conference Minister