Friday, March 6, 2020
Health Precautions from Fr. Carlos
I have been reading from various pages of the CDC website, and I have learned that the coronavirus in the news has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).
There are many kinds of coronaviruses, some more dangerous than others, but many are quite common and cause the symptoms of the common cold each year during flu season. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is of the type betacoronavirus, along with MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, and all three of these viruses have their origins in bats.
While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, a report out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people with certain underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example, seem to be at greater risk of serious illness.
Taking all of this information into consideration, I am asking you to please:
-Stay home when you are sick. If you are sick, you are excused from the Sunday obligation.
-When coughing or sneezing, please cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands, or preferably use a tissue, and throw it away afterwards.
-Wash your hands before coming to Mass and after leaving the church. An alcohol-based hand rub will be made available at church entrances.
-If you are older, and especially if you have an underlying health condition, feel free not to shake hands during the sign of peace. You may simply put your hands in a prayer gesture and do a head bow.
-Know that the sharing of the Precious Blood has been suspended at all parishes of the diocese.
-If you receive Holy Communion on the tongue, please consider receiving Holy Communion on your hand, since receiving on the tongue presents higher risks of spreading of microbes. Otherwise, please go last to receive communion.
-Pray for all affected by COVID-19, for those who have died worldwide, and for the health professionals dealing with the containment and treatment of this disease.
-Know that there could be more changes, as this situation is rapidly developing.
God bless, Fr. Carlos, OSA