Local churches are standing with health care professionals and limiting in person gatherings to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Participating churches throughout Kent County will discontinue large gatherings such as worship services, weddings, and meetings of more than five individuals until December 8, according to a release sent out Wednesday morning.
“Pastors have been moved by the pleas of front-line healthcare workers, as well as the ongoing suffering and loss of life of Kent County residents as a result of this virus” said Rev. Khary Bridgewater on behalf of the Kent County COVID-19 Church Task Force. “Our physicians and nurses are risking their lives, working double shifts, suffering through physical, mental, and emotional hardship to care for patients. We want to give them a fighting chance.”
Local healthcare professionals are concerned with the rising number of cases.
According to Dr. Darryl Elmouchi, the president of Spectrum Health West Michigan, the region is at a critical point. "In the Spring we were able to flatten the curve but now we are at a much higher point," Elmouchi said. "I was recently asked if we were standing on top of a second peak but I am worried we are standing at the base of a mountain."
Church leaders are also urging everyone to take precautions to stay healthy and safe.
“Our goal is to stand with our front-line medical workers and public health officials,” said Rev. Joe Jones, Grand Rapids Second Ward City Commissioner. “We need to do this for the brave men and women who provide life-saving health care, and we need to do this to ensure there is adequate hospital capacity to serve anyone who needs care for cancer, a heart attack, or any number of medical crises. This pandemic is having a devastating impact on our beloved community and the virus does not discriminate. It’s affecting all, regardless of zip code, race, socioeconomic status or age.”
The Church Task Force encourages residents to limit gatherings to members of their immediate household, wear masks in public, practice good hygiene, and continue social distancing to reduce COVID-19 transmission and save lives in our community.
For more updates and information on the special task force click here.