With the loveliness of spring around us and a month of sheltering in place behind us, many are eager to know what next steps in our COVID response might be. The short answer is that the steps will be carefully staged and will aim at the same criteria we identified at the beginning:
Participate in county and state Public Health initiatives – we want to be part of the solution
Protect the vulnerable
Flatten the curve to retain adequate health care resources for those who fall ill
The markers for next steps will be based on the data and science of how to deal with a pandemic. International groups and our own state have identified similar markers that can indicate when change could begin. There has been public discussion about this in the news recently. In fact, Governor Newsom has offered metrics that our state government is working on to ensure our public health.
The public health authorities and leaders in this area (CA) are the ones with the best grasp of our context “on the ground,” which is why we are listening to them about how to keep our communities safe: they have the most knowledge about us and what we need to be safe.
It is also clear that infection numbers do not yet indicate a return to normal activity. We will return to a new normal in stages – but we are only in the planning stage – and are not yet at the activation stage.
This can be frustrating to hear and there is a good deal of grief we are all experiencing. And it is tough, our homes are filled with: young kids, dual careers working from home, and schooling in place; lost jobs, lost income, and the grief of lost opportunities.
My dear friends, we can do this. Our ability to innovate and connect is hardly tapped out. And we will find surprising gifts along the way. We will faithfully continue our efforts to stay physically distant, but socially connected. We will continue to shelter for the sake of others. We will dive into reading the Gospel of Matthew with the rest of the faithful in The Episcopal Diocese of Northern California. I urge you to join the Good Book Club here; for resources click here. (También disponible en español: goodbookclub.org/espanol/)
Like generations before us, we are faced with the demand that we do hard things without a guaranteed outcome. And like them, our source of courage and hope is in the promise of the resurrection: new life in the place of death. We will ride this out and return to re-shape, re-build, and restore our communities.
Right now we are gathering strength in our homes.
Be assured of my prayers for all of you and my confidence in our churches and our future.
Bishop Megan M. Traquair