The Board met Sunday, Nov 12th meeting and updated our COVID policy. Procedures will be reviewed again at their upcoming meetings and as needed.

  • Masks are optional for Sunday service, coffee hour, potluck, programs, and meetings.
  • Those who don’t feel well are encouraged to mask, join us on Zoom, or stay at home and rest.
  • For the common good, respect those who request folks to mask.

Anyone contracting COVID, the Flu or RSV will notify the President immediately and the President will disseminate that information to every member. The person(s) notifying the President will not be named.

COVID Status as of Oct 4, 2023

By Dr. Penny Brewster – As stated in the prior report September 8, the first thing to know about Covid status is that it has become more difficult to know it.  Much more testing is being done with home tests, which are not reported, rather than PCR tests.  But we do still have some sources of information.

Wastewater: One is wastewater testing.  Some wastewater plants are testing wastewater for evidence of Covid; some are not.  Our plant here in Franklin does not.  But the plant in Sylva does, and it had reported previously that 60-79.9% of samples collected contained evidence of Covid.  That number is now 20-39.9%.  Going further east, 80-100% of samples were previously reported as positive in Buncombe and Henderson counties.  That number is now 60-79%.  So that is good news.

Hospitalizations: Nationwide, Covid hospitalizations have decreased slightly since my prior report.  But Covid deaths have increased 8%. But while hospitalizations are nowhere near last winter’s numbers, in the western NC counties there were previously 23 people hospitalized with Covid.  That number is now 45.  Two are in Macon county.

Mutations: As a reminder, the more people the virus infects, the more opportunities it has to mutate in ways that might service its purposes better: to infect as many people as possible.  This is because it cannot reproduce without our help.

Current Variants: Current Covid variants to watch are EG.5 (Eris) and BA.2.86 (Pirola).  EG.5 is the currently the dominant variant, but BA.2.86 is of particular concern due to its numerous spike protein mutations, which could impact protection offered by vaccines or previous infection.

Covid Vaccines: The CDC Advisory Committee met regarding the updated MRNA Covid vaccines, and approved them.  These vaccines do not specifically target the two variants mentioned above, but they do provide better coverage than the current Covid vaccines, since they cover the Omicron lineage in general.  Check with your preferred vaccine provider to see if they have the updated vaccines.

Guidance: So mask when in indoor spaces, and get the new Covid vaccine.  Don’t forget about flu and RSV – get those vaccines also.  RSV used to occur almost entirely in children, but that is no longer the case, and there are RSV vaccines available now for people over the age of 60.