From our parish nurse – hands up

Hands up for common sense!

Just a few words on the coronavirus for our Cathedral community. There has been much hype in the media, and more each day as the coronavirus spreads in many countries around the world. In Canada, we have not had the high number of cases that are occurring in other countries, in part due to the size of our population and to the number of people who travel.

Health CanadaHandwashing reports that the risk to Canadians is low; to date there have not been any cases reported in New Brunswick. But we still should be mindful to practice good hygiene as the spread of the virus is in its early stages here in Canada at this point.

I would like to remind us of the simple and safe measures which we can use to prevent the spread of this virus. These are the same health and safety measures which were put in place when we experienced the SARS epidemic in 2002 and 2003, and those which we have used ever since that time during our Cathedral worship and activities.

Listen to Kathleen Snow during 2 Minutes for Ministry 08 March 2020

In short, the best prevention is to wash your hands, and keep them away from your face.

Visit the Health Canada website for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about coronavirus:

The Health Canada website states that the symptoms of the coronavirus are similar to a cold or flu. They may take up to 14 days to appear (incubation period) and may include fever, cough, difficulty breathing and may lead to pneumonia.

How is it spread?
According the Health Canada, current evidence suggests that person-to-person spread occurs when there is close personal contact:

  • through respiratory droplets when you cough or sneeze
  • touching or shaking hands, or
  • touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

In short, the best prevention is to wash your hands, and keep them away from your face.

How can we protect ourselves and others?
Again, Health Canada recommends that we can protect ourselves by

  • washing our hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (sing Happy Birthday song x 2)
  • avoiding touching our eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • avoiding close contact with people who are ill
  • coughing or sneezing into our sleeves rather than our hands, and
  • by staying home from work, worship activities, and social activities if we are ill to avoid spreading the illness to others.

the best prevention is to wash your hands, and keep them away from your face

What about worship?
As mentioned above, we have been implementing health and safety precautions for a number of years now since the SARS epidemic.

Use of Hand Sanitizers
You will note in the Cathedral that we have hand sanitizers at the Chancel steps, as well as at both front centre-aisle pews. They are in the Sacristy for use, in the Choir room, and at the entrance of both the West and South doors of the Cathedral.

Holy Communion
The clergy and other eucharistic administrators use hand sanitizers prior to administering the Sacrament. Many communicants use the sanitizers as they prepare to make Communion. Intinction (dipping the host in the wine) by the communicant is strongly discouraged and prevented whenever possible. Clergy will administer the host by intiction when requested (a word or other gesture works well). We continue this for all who do not wish to share the common cup. Taking only the host (bread) is another option.

More detailed information is available from our Bishop's Directive 3.4 on the Administration of Holy Communion

The Sharing of the Peace
It is recommended that we be sensitive to each other’s wishes in the sharing the Peace. If parishioners are not comfortable at this time with hand-shaking, then we need to respect their wishes. We have had no direction at this time from our diocese or the national church regarding whether or not to shake hands at the time of Peace. A simple nod of the head and the words of peace may suffice for those who would prefer not to shake hands.

In short, the best prevention is to wash your hands, and keep them away from your face.

It is really all about common sense: washing our hands, not touching our face, coughing into our sleeves, and staying home if we are ill. We are a community of care and a community of faith; we do care deeply about one another. Let us practice these hygienic measures to keep us all well so that we can continue to be a healthy community, worshiping and growing together in Christ.

Kathleen Snow (RN BN), Parish Nurse

Health Canada
World Health Organization
Bishop's Directive 3.4 on the Administration of Holy Communion (Diocese of Fredericton)
As COVID-19 reaches congregations, parish nurses offer observations, advice (10 March 2020 Anglican Journal)


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