Bishop Hee-Soo Jung announces the formation of a Conference COVID-19 Task Team to ensure that the Wisconsin Annual Conference has an appropriate Pandemic Emergency Response Plan, to include appropriate checklists and communications so that Wisconsin United Methodists can carry out their mission faithfully under the constraints presented by the spread of the Novel Corona Virus.

Bishop Jung selected Rev. Dr. Kate Jones, Cabinet Dean, to coordinate this new task team. Other members include Dr. Lance Peterson, (MD); Ms. Sarah Sneider, Conference Treasurer; Rev. Bud Budzinski, Disaster Response team Chair; Dr. Ruth Lindegard, (DrPH); Ms. Lynnette Jordan, Disaster Response Team Co-Chair; Dr. Robert Jones (MD); and Rev. Sue D'Alessio.  The team is now meeting weekly via video conferencing.

Here are some key points our Task Team offers from our meeting of March 25.

  1. For now, limit gatherings to fewer than 10 people.
  2. Certain groups are at higher risk.
    • People aged 65 years and older.
    • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility.
    • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma.
    • People who have serious heart conditions.
    • People who are immunocompromised including through cancer treatment.
    • People of any age with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] >40) or certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease might also be at higher risk.
    • People who are pregnant should be monitored since they are known to be at risk over severe viral illness, however, to date data on COVID-19 has not shown increased risk.
  3.  We will work with churches to develop safety plans.
    • All hand sanitizers should have at least 60% alcohol.
    • Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds (long enough to Say the Lord’s Prayer). Don’t forget to wash between your fingers and up over your wrists.
    • Use EPA registered household disinfectants for cleaning.
  4. Check with your local health official to make sure the event is safe to hold and obtain information on local emergency planning. This includes plans for drive-in worship, funerals weddings and other small services.
  5. Identify a space that can be used for anyone getting sick.
    • Have them leave as soon as possible.
    • Have a disposable facemask available for them.

Practice Everyday Preventative Actions

  • Obey the Governor’s Safer at Home Order
  • Frequently wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • If soap and water are not readily available use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow. Throw the tissue away immediately and wash your hands.
  • Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Stay home when sick

Provide infection prevention supplies at your organization (e.g., soap, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, tissues, trash baskets, and a couple of disposable facemasks, just in case someone becomes ill).