Religious Services in the age of the virus
OKANOGAN – Okanogan County Public Health is reporting that there are now 13 cases of COVID-19 in the county, with seven on the Colville Reservation, four in the Methow and one each in the North and South County, according the latest alert from Okanogan County Emergency Management on Friday.
The new release reflects a correction in locations from an alert sent out on Thursday, which had two cases in south county. The corrected release points out that there was actually a new case on the Reservation and still only one case in South County (Mallot to Pateros). The first case in North County (Oroville to Riverside) was reported on Wednesday.
A total of 289 cases have been sent for testing, according to Public Health, with 236 negative test results coming back negative, with 40 cases still pending.
Advice on Religious Observances from Okanogan County Public Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone’s life in some way. This impact extends to our religious communities. April is a holy month for many faiths.
We understand the profound significance of these events in people’s lives. COVID-19 related restrictions will affect how many of us would typically observe these events.
Participating in religious events often provides people with a sense of comfort and peace. And that can be especially important during this stressful time. Many of these observances bring family, friends and communities together to share the experience.
Gathering with others may play an important role in your typical observance. Unfortunately, these are not typical times.
We encourage everyone to Stay Home and Stay Healthy during this outbreak. Attending any gatherings of any kind increases your risk of getting COVID-19 and spreading it to others. Even with face masks, you can still spread illness to others.
We recommend finding creative ways to celebrate your faith while following social distancing guidance. Many religious services are being broadcast online. Some congregations are organizing phone trees to help check in with vulnerable members of their community.
Ask leaders in your religious community which services are available and how to safely participate. Use video chats to spend time with people you can’t visit in-person.
Special observances typically have special foods, songs, and other meaningful traditions. We encourage you to still enjoy those foods and songs that bring you comfort and reassurance. Spend more time with family in your household. Prayer and meditation may be calming for you and help to reduce stress for better mental health.
Just remember, STAYING at HOME is a MUST.
This is not guidance we give lightly. We all face these challenges together and we all feel the impacts of them. The safest thing you can do for yourself, your family, and your community is stay home.
DOH Call Center 1-800-525-0127 Press # after the prompt
Education & Information www.doh.wa.gov/emergencies/coronavirus
Okanogan County Alerts Sign up for alerts like these from Emergency Management at: https://www.okanogandem.org