by: Pastor Brooks
Dear Liberty Baptist Tabernacle Family,
Because some are having a difficult time understanding what is authorized and what is not, I feel it is prudent to post the following in an attempt to clear up any confusion…
The South Dakota Department of Health issued a COVID-19 Briefing for Municipalities and Counties on March 18, 2020, which contains guidelines for “community and faith-based organizations”. You can view the briefing from the following link:
First, one must understand the term “community spread”. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the term community spread means the spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown. It’s when someone becomes infected, but health officials aren’t sure how or where they became infected. There are three levels of community spread:
1) None: COVID-19 cases may occur in the community, but there is NO community transmission.
2) Minimal to Moderate: There is a single case of community-acquired COVID-19 in a county.
3) Substantial: There are five or more cases of community-acquired COVID-19 in a county.
In other words, there can be confirmed cases within a community, but they can still remain at the “none” level if the infection can be traced to a source outside of the community.
Community spread is a serious concern because it means a contagious disease is being spread by those who have had no known contact with other infected individuals or have not traveled to an area where the disease has any documented cases. Once community spread has been confirmed, then communities become much more restrictive with how they enforce “social distancing”.
The good news for South Dakota is according to the South Dakota Department of Health, “there remains no community spread of COVID-19 in South Dakota so we remain in the “None” category.”
(If you view the briefing then you will notice that the CDC is advising that “mass gatherings” which consist of 50 or more people be postponed for the next eight weeks, and in areas where community spread has occurred with five more or cases then that number drops to 10. But it’s also important to understand the term “mass gatherings”. According to the CDC “a mass gathering is a planned or spontaneous event with a large number of people in attendance that could strain the planning and response resources of the community hosting the event, such as a concert, festival, conference, or sporting event”. Mass gatherings are not the same category as faith-based organizations.)
I want our church family to know that because South Dakota is still within the “none” category of community spread we are still safe to conduct church services as scheduled. We are not disobeying any orders or being purposefully defiant. Trust me, I would love to have the time off! (Hahaha)
We are going to press on with the precautions recommended by health officials, which we have been doing, unless we are instructed otherwise. (Please see previous posts.) As a reminder, stay home if you are sick, and seek medical attention if you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
Should this information change, we will post another update…
2 Chronicles 7:13-14 “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Though I am thankful for our government, the answer to all of this is not from any governmental agency. The answer is for God’s people to get right with God by turning from their wicked ways! Let’s humble ourselves, and pray, and seek God’s face, then God will hear from heaven, and forgive our sins, and heal our land…