Statement from the Office of Mission regarding COVID-19
With rising concern about the impact of the current coronavirus (COVID-19), Conference staff recently listened in to a webinar hosted by our travel insurance company, AIG Travel. This excellent presentation (for which a link is provided below for those who would like to listen to the entire 40 minutes) gave us the necessary information to help our churches and mission teams make appropriate decisions regarding travel at this time.
Here are the important insights we gleaned:
- This virus seems to be largely impacting adults from 30 years and older. People over 60 are at a higher risk of significant symptoms than younger people. People over 60 with other underlying health issues, especially pulmonary issues, should consider not traveling until this virus’ impact is under control.
- This is a flu-like virus that has typical symptoms such a fever, cough and respiratory issues. Infections are transmitted by coughing and sneezing. Most people will have mild symptoms. Only 5% of infected people will need to be hospitalized.
- The incidence of COVID-19 is still very low. You are more likely to get the flu than this new virus.
- Wearing surgical masks is limited in value to prevent the virus penetrating the wearer; however, a mask is effective for those who are symptomatic from spreading it.
- The places to avoid are countries on the CDC list (see link below) that are showing high incidence, as well as transiting through airports in these same countries.
While taking the best possible precautions in the face of this virus, it is also important that we continue to be about God’s mission in the world. Our presence and commitment to each other is a witness to our hope and confidence in our shared journey of faith in Christ. If travel does, indeed, become more challenging, we will help you find other ways to continue our partnerships in mission.
To listen to the entire Webinar, hosted by the Chief Medical Officer of AIG Travel follow the link and enter your name, email and okumc as company: https://aig.webcasts.com/viewer/event.jsp?ei=1288281&tp_key=20f0d7bea3
The CDC website for the latest information is: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Please feel free to call our office if you need further information: (405) 530-2028 – Rev. Jeremy Basset; (405) 530-2070 – Lori Foster.
Thank you for your faithful participation together in God’s mission!
Rev. Jeremy Basset, Office of Mission