Georgia Governor Brian Kemp stands with Dr. Kathleen Toomey, commissioner for the Georgia Department of Public Health, on Feb. 28 in announcing that coronavirus had made its way to Georgia. Currently there are 197 reported cases of COVID-19 in the state, with three deaths. GOVERNOR BRIAN KEMP/Facebook
ATLANTA — Governor Brian Kemp, in an interview with The Christian Index, stressed the importance of churches in the current battle against the spread of COVID-19.
“It’s going to be the community that stops this,” Kemp told interviewer Maina Mwaura, citing Dr. Deborah Birx of the U.S. Coronavirus Task Force. “And the way to do that is to adhere to the directives that are coming out of Washington, the CDC, Governor’s Office, and Georgia Department of Public Health.”
“We need people to help us with social distancing, keeping their hands washed, and limiting their travels and being in large groups of people,” Kemp added. “That helps flatten the curve and the escalation we’re seeing.”
Churches can be a tremendous help, he stressed.
“We’ve asked them when possible and practical to not hold [in-person] services, but to go online,” said the governor. “Now, if they’re dead-set on being together make sure their facilities are clean, people are spreading out in their seating, and they’re limiting their social interaction. If someone is feeling sick urge them to stay home. Call your doctor before going to their office or the emergency room.”
As they are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus, Kemp stressed a responsibility for churches in caring for the elderly.
“People can help them by delivering medications, meals, and things of that nature. Help limit their public exposure,” he said.
Other areas of the public need churches to step in, he added. Children home from school and parents out of work will have difficulty getting meals. Churches can either collect those goods and find ways to deliver them while sticking with protocols or work with a local food bank.
Full days, thankful for prayers
The governor noted that those actions, plus continued prayer, make all the difference.
“This is an all-hands-on-deck approach,” Kemp stated. “I can’t tell you how many people are letting me know they’re praying for me. We need it more than ever right now. This is going to be a tough thing to get through, but we have a strong faith in the people in our state. I want the pastors and faith leaders know that we need them in this fight.”
From the time he woke up at 5 a.m. today, Kemp’s day has been busy. Starting with getting the latest news on the coronavirus’ spread, he moved to a 7:30 a.m. radio interview and barely stopped with meetings as his administration dealt with the crisis. The two biggest things he says people can pray for him over are wisdom and strength. That includes his family.
“They feel the pressure with me, probably more than I do,” he said. “We’ve got a strong family and been through a lot, so I appreciate it when people say they’re praying for us, because we’re in this together.”
He asked for those prayers to be extended to those making up his administration.
“We’ve all been through tough times and are battle-tested. Not every decision is going to be perfect, but we can’t dwell on that. Just make the best decision with the information we have in-hand.
“But we’re honored to be serving. I’m giving it everything I’ve got every day.”
Scott Barkley serves as editor of The Christian Index.