UPDATED 7/28/21
Gerald L. Stevens
Interim Pastor
First Baptist Church, Luling

FBCL COVID Update 2021 07-28

Hello church family,

This is your pastor, Jerry Stevens, with an important update. Public health officials and expert epidemiologists have been forced to reverse course with protocol recommendations for public health due to the alarming, exponential growth of the Delta variant of COVID-19, particularly among the unvaccinated in even the last two weeks. We are now entering the fourth COVID surge. This new mutation from the original virus presents an even greater threat, being many times more contagious. The statistics are truly alarming. Hospitals records across the nation indicate that ninety nine percent of COVID patients hospitalized are among the unvaccinated. Ninety nine point five percent of deaths due to COVID are among the unvaccinated. Those brutal statistics should be a wake up call to us all. As your pastor, I am begging you to get vaccinated if you still are not.

Even more worrisome, the Delta variant also shows breakthrough cases for the vaccinated. Importantly here, though, is that the percentage of breakthrough cases is small. Further to note is that breakthrough cases with the vaccinated present generally mild symptoms like cold or flu, rarely are hospitalized, and almost never end in death. What rare breakthrough hospitalizations exist are with patients who already have preexisting conditions and serious health problems.

Important to note here is that health officials have advised that studies also show that breakthrough cases mean the vaccinated unknowingly can be transmitting the virus. They may even be asymptomatic and still spread the virus. Further, I should note that we already have had examples of COVID breakthrough cases among the vaccinated in our own congregation. Finally, the state of Louisiana ranks among the lowest in the nation in percentage of population vaccinated, so we automatically are in the category of high risk for infection and spread of this disease.

Thus, as your pastor, and thinking of our public health needs at First Baptist Church, Luling in light of the new and imminent threat of the Delta variant and the new protocol recommendations, I am requesting that we reinstitute voluntary mask protocols for all indoors events, including Bible study, committee meetings, and worship. I also am hereby postponing the Anniversary Pot Luck Dinner that was scheduled for August 8. We may try to have this event at a time this fall when the weather cools and we might consider an outside venue.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation in these difficult times as we work to build community by thinking of the needs of others more than ourselves. May God bless you richly and keep you and your loved ones safe in the days ahead.

Dr. Gerald L. Stevens