Pastor's Corner - July 30th, 2021
Greetings to you all!
It has been a whirlwind of a month with the Southwest Camp in Arizona and the Northwest Camp on the Oregon Coast wrapping up during the month of July. We left the house the morning of June 28th, and returned home from Northwest on the 25th - with only three days home in between, so it's been a busy week getting dug out from being gone for that period of time.
I'm pleased to report that both camps went off without a hitch relating to illness- the precautions that we took for the camp in Arizona, as well as the precautions in place at the Camp in Rockaway Beach did what they were intended to do, and no illness has been reported from either camp at this time. We're past the incubation period for the camp in Arizona, and Northwest will be past by the end of next week, so we're thankful for God's protection and His grace on both of the camps and continue to pray that nothing was spread in our time together. Thank you for your prayers on behalf of both of the camps. There were so many things that happened throughout the week in Arizona that were clearly God's providence - I look forward to sharing them with you all in the coming months.
I'm looking forward to spending the Sabbath with you tomorrow in Salem - it will be nice to gather again after not having a location to meet for the month.
Please remember as we come together again after so long - we've had a few members who have have been ill, some with COVID that has been picked up in the community, and there are other illnesses going around at the moment too - so please be wise about quarantining if you have been exposed recently or have symptoms. Cases are on the rise again in Oregon, and around the country - with the latest variant moving quickly even through populations of individuals with natural and vaccinated immunity - though these things seem to provide a reduction in serious symptoms.
At this point, anything that presents as sore throat, dry cough, congestion, headache, fever, shortness of breath, loss of taste/smell, nausea, diarrhea, muscle aches, etc... should be assumed to be COVID unless proven otherwise. That was the principle our UYC summer camp programs at Northwest and Southwest operated on this year, but please keep in mind - not all of these symptoms show up in all circumstances, so it's not a perfect system. If you have symptoms - please go get tested. That's the only way of knowing for certain unless there are so many symptoms it is a clear cut case. We all have a tendency to say, "Oh, I just have a runny nose, and a slight cough, I don't have a fever, it's fine", only to find out two days late when a fever and body aches show up that it wasn't fine, and we have managed to spread it to those we were in contact with. This latest variant spreads quickly, it is less deadly for most populations - but significantly more contagious.
Current recommendations on quarantine are 10 days after symptoms begin (or a positive test) and 24 hours without a fever without the use of fever reducing medications. In cases of severe illness, this is recommended to be longer.
I wish we weren't still having to talk about this - but unfortunately the rate at which it spread through Pinecrest this summer, and the serious effects that are still affecting a number of the attendees and the families of those who attended--even two weeks out from camp--have strengthened my resolve on doing what we can to prevent a localized outbreak within our congregation particularly as there are no distancing or masks requirements currently in Oregon. As evidenced by our camp programs this summer - one of the best things we can do is ensure we don't have anything get in on the front side... which comes down to our own individual efforts and the vigilance and care that each of us take.
Thank you once again for your efforts in this department. Looking forward to seeing you Sabbath!