Tanaya Meaders, Georgia Baptist Mission Board Health & Wellness consultant, demonstrates an alternative with Executive Director Thomas Hammond to the standard church greeting handshake.
DULUTH — Georgia Baptist Executive Director W. Thomas Hammond, Jr., recently joined Health & Wellness consultant Tanaya Meaders in a video outlining steps to help prevent COVID-19 from entering churches.
Churches, like other gathering places, are locales where the illness is known to spread. Acknowledging that there is no foolproof way to keep COVID-19 from affecting a congregation, the two discussed the basics of keeping the likelihood to a minimum.
Unfamiliarity with an illness contributes to the fear surrounding it. Meaders, a registered nurse, pointed out that coronavirus’ presence has been known of for decades.
“Coronavirus is not new. It’s a group of viruses that has been established since the 1950s and … COVID-19 … is a new strand. … So in good preparation, not panic, the best thing to do is to avoid people who have the coronavirus.”
At the time of the video, 13 states had reported cases of COVID-19. But, Meaders pointed out, 80% of those cases were judged to be “mild.”
On Monday, the same day Georgia Baptist leaders held a meeting to discuss the illness, Governor Brian Kemp organized a press conference announcing that two cases of coronavirus had been diagnosed in Georgia. Yesterday a third case of coronavirus in the state was confirmed in a patient receiving treatment at Floyd Medical Center in Rome.
President Donald Trump, after initial reports of its cancellation, apparently will visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta this afternoon to speak with leaders on the matter. Earlier today the President signed an $8.3 billion emergency coronavirus spending package to fight the spread.
Common steps for prevention, good news for children’s ministries
While headlines concerning COVID-19 can be scary, Meaders said the most effective ways to defend against it boil down to common practices.
“It really should not affect your social interaction, [just] bring awareness to you on good hand hygiene and normal infectious disease universal precautions,” she stated. Examples include throwing away tissues after usage and washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, utilize a hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol.
There’s nothing wrong with avoiding the traditional handshake, she noted. Substitute a fist bump, elbow bump, or even a wave. Stay up-to-date by accessing the CDC’s latest information at CDC.gov/covid19 for more guidelines, including group events churches may be hosting.
The most readily available highway for viruses, Meaders added, are our hands. On average, people touch their faces 15-23 times per hour. It’s important to be cognizant of items one constantly touches such as smartphones. On devices such as those, bacteria can live for up to 72 hours. Moreover, wearing a facemask while healthy only increases your chance to contract a virus, as the area around your nose and mouth gets uncommonly moist.
Children’s ministry areas have the reputation as active little playgrounds for illness. But Meaders added that with good hygiene practices still in play, it’s important to note that children who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 have been handling it “beautiful.”
Click below to see the full video.