TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Baltimore County health officials issued a health notice Monday to faith-based institutions, calling for their help to curb the spread of COVID-19 and the flu season.
“Faith-based institutions are a stronghold in the community,” said Doctor Gregory Wm. Branch, Baltimore County’s Health Officer.
Branch encouraged institutions to remind their parishioners to practice safety precautions throughout the fall.
“We want everyone to remember the three W’s when they worship: wearing their face mask, washing and watching their distance,” he said.
Branch also said faith-based leaders can spread messages of health along with messages of faith. Among those leaders is Bishop Bart Pierce, a pastor at Rock City Church in Towson.
“The communication system within the churches is good when we have a crisis,” Pierce said. “Most will listen to me, except for my grandchildren.”
In particular, the county is flagging faith-based institutions affiliated with schools as they plan on re-opening. The Rock Church Academy is set to open its doors in a few days.
“Telling other Christian schools and other private schools how they can work with it because we have so much influence, we’re able to give out data that helps people embrace things that they might be afraid to,” Pierce added.
As nearby state leaders have shut down weddings planned at religious institutions with thousands of guests, Branch told religious institutions to, “be creative; you can do a lot of different types of programs outside.”
He also emphasized the elderly are still at a high-risk and should avoid large gatherings.
“I understand and recognize that the church, the synagogue, the mosque or other places of business might be open, but because you can, doesn’t mean you should,” Branch said.
If you have any questions, Baltimore County has a COVID-19 hotline, available seven days a week at 410-887-3816
To see the full health notice, click on the following link: https://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/county-news/2020/10/19/baltimore-county-health-officer-issues-notice-for-faith-based-institutions
For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.