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Columbus medical professionals want churches to cancel services due to COVID-19 concerns

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Local physicians are strongly urging area churches to consider canceling services this weekend and for the immediate future as a precautionary measure to prepare for, prevent, and control the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the area.

Physicians from Columbus Family Practice, Columbus Medical Center, Columbus Children's Healthcare, Columbus Women’s Healthcare, Inpatient Physician Associates – Columbus, Columbus Urgent Care, Columbus Community Hospital, Good Neighbor Community Health Center and East Central District Health Department wrote in a joint statement: “In an overabundance of caution, we are urging all churches in our community to strongly consider suspending services, effective immediately and until further notice, in an effort to get ahead of the novel coronavirus pandemic.”

They noted that it is imperative to limit contact among people to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Since no specific treatment for COVID 19 virus exists at this time, limiting exposure of vulnerable individuals is prudent and our best advice for the community. “Federal, State, and local public health officials know that it is just a matter of time that this epidemic hits our community,” they wrote.

“Social distancing measures, like avoiding close contact with others, is one of the very best ways to lower the number of people that become ill. This is critical in order for our local health care providers and hospitals to be able to manage the number of people that do become sick and need critical care. Thank you for your prayerful consideration.”

Congregations are encouraged to consider alternative ways for connecting to conduct worship services that promote social distancing, such as televised and/or live-streaming services, connecting via teleconference as well as other options that are available.

For general information about the coronavirus call 211 or the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 Information Line 402.552.6645 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CST, 7 days a week.

Community members who have visited the travel areas of concern or believe they may have had contact with someone with coronavirus should call the East Central District Health Department 2019 Novel Coronavirus Hotline. For English, call: 402-562-8960. For Spanish, call: 402-562-8963.

Additional coronavirus information is available on the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services website: http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx.

 

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