I have been encouraged this week to see that the statewide coronavirus numbers associated with hospitalizations has declined over these past 10 days so that the total numbers in hospitals with COVID-19 is under 900, in ICUs is under 300 and needing ventilators is under 200. Here in Guernsey County, too, it looks like the number of active cases has declined to under 15 as well.
I know that there are many contributing factors for this improvement. As difficult as it has been for many people, I’m sure that the mask mandate has been among the most effective for this largely airborne virus.
So, I’d like to emphasize that until we formally have no more new cases here in Guernsey County and have this mask mandate lifted to please continue wearing a mask when attending Mass or other prayer services in our churches. We have additional masks on hand if you forget a mask at home or leave it in the car. We want to continue to keep our “common breathing space” as clean as possible.
My favorite new tool is the electro-static sprayer that recently arrived. It has helped to greatly reduce the time spent on sanitizing both the surfaces and the air in our buildings. And, the buildings and maintenance staff for the Diocese of Steubenville is producing a solution for those sprayers and is making it available for all of the parishes and schools of our Diocese at an extremely affordable rate. This will help us especially both with keeping our St. Benedict School classrooms and common spaces well-sanitized and with improving the effect of all of this cleaning on the wood surfaces of our pews.
Additionally, we are continuing to have an increase in attendance at our Sunday Masses, especially at our 10:30 a.m. Mass.
If you are uncomfortable with gatherings of people in closer proximity like that, and if we get close to capacity, please feel free to a) leave and attend Mass at another time or b) simply only attend a daily Mass during the week where we usually have between 20-30 people in attendance (compared to the 60 – 110 people at the Sunday Masses).
Likewise, please do not be offended if we post signs on the door, indicating that we have reached our capacity and that we cannot have additional people in the building. Hopefully, we are not far away from the point that we can get back to having more people closer to each other without the current restrictions. Thank you for your sacrifices and attentiveness to cleanliness that are helping us to get to that point.
May the Lord keep us protected and healthy and, as always, well prepared for the gift of eternal life!!