Correction: The original post referred to record deaths. What is correct is record new infections. The author regrets the error.
UPDATED 12/7 (where italicized) to direct the reader to the in-person worship policies in the diocese that were in place, and the timing of changes to those policies.
UPDATED 12/8 (in blue).
The Rt. Rev. Brian Seage, Bishop of the Diocese of Mississippi,
waited until announced— as the state reached a record number of new cases deaths due to Covid-19— to a return to suspension of suspend in-person worship. His letter to the diocese appears at the end of this post.
The Hour’s report on new case levels and the Seage’s announcement is here.
Data for Mississippi from the New York Times are displayed below. The data go up to December 7:
Hospitalizations are a leading indicator of future death rates. High hospitalization rates imply pressure on ICU beds and hospital staff.
Thirteen major hospitals are without ICU capacity, according to this week’s health department numbers. Currently, 86% of the state’s ICU beds are full — including 96% capacity among the highest level COVID-care centers — and COVID-19 patients are filling 30% of those spots.
Evolution of the diocese’s worship restrictions
The diocese’s Covid-19 Resources page is here. Letters from the bishop and diocesan news on Covid-19 can be found here. On March 13 worship services were temporarily suspended and later the suspension of in-person worship was extended, and again and again — all for a few weeks at a time. In the bishop’s July 13 letter he issued this directive: “all Parishes and Missions shall restrict worshiping bodies to no more than 10 people indoors and 20 people out of doors” (plus safety protocols, and allowance for local hot spots). His September 2 letter relaxed that the July 13 policy, allowing in-person worship at 50% provided seating permitted 6 feet of social distance.
At present, does your diocese allow in-person worship?
Seage’s December 2, 2020 letter to the diocese follows.