SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Recent warnings from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention are causing people, businesses and even churches to change their normal routines.
Hundreds of people pour into St. Peter the Apostle Church every week, but the congregation’s Pastor said he decided to suspend portions of communion after hearing concerns from the parishioners about sharing a communal cup.
“We took out two parts using the common cup for communion and also we removed the portion of mass called the ‘Exchange of Peace’ when people are invited to offer peace to each other usually with a hand shake,” Pastor Michael J. Kavanaugh stated.
The local Pastor said community members in his congregation are becoming increasingly concerned about public gatherings, due to the spread of COVID-19. He said churches, movie theaters, and other communal spaces where people gather are areas where people have a higher exposure to germs.
“Any pastor of any congregation is already thinking about it, you know, what do we do here that might be a cause or might be dangerous, I know it has to be on every pastor’s mind,” Kavanaugh said.
Chuck Kearns, the Chief of Chatham County Emergency Services said, in his 36 years as a paramedic, he has seen the country on high alert from the spread of several viruses.
” When I first started my career we were dealing with Aids and we had no idea what it was and people were terrified, and I’ve lived through Sars, and Mers and Zika virus and Bird Flu and this is just another one of those things that eventually we will get a handle on, but in the meantime there’s no reason for people to panic, just follow the guidelines from the CDC and the local health department,” Kearns stated.
The emergency services professional said Chatham County EMS crews have been proactive for years, and he believes they are prepared even though there are no reported cases in Georgia.
“We have a routine basis where all of the ambulances are being routinely disinfected, unlike the majority of services in the nation, and then we also have a specially trained transport team that handles infectious diseases so if a person were to come into the port let’s say showing the signs we have teams that are specially trained and equipped by the State of Georgia Department of Health to transport those patients to minimize the potential spread of any disease.These kind of actions by all segments of society will really help to quell this viral outbreak,” Kearns said.