How to best care for church members who are sick with COVID?

We are in our first real COVID wave here in NSW, Australia, and it certainly is a wave. I personally know of 7+ households who have had it in the last fortnight, one friend who was hospitalized (until now I had only personally known one family who had it all year!). It is expected to be peaking through all of January, so we can expect a lot more cases in friends during coming weeks. Our church is wanting to gear up and prepare for how we can support families who catch it.

My question is to those who have experienced waves of COVID before.

How have you learned to care for and love those who contract it?

Some ideas we have brainstormed are:

  • Organizing meals to deliver to their door during their isolation period
  • Sending “Get well” cards
  • Making sure they are aware to call us if they need groceries / medicine

Any practical ideas and suggestions would be much appreciated! If you’ve had COVID, what did you appreciate people doing for you? Thank you!

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I find that it’s very helpful to do those things. Practically, it’s also helpful to know what you can do to keep safe.

  1. Pulse oximeters have been very helpful for many people–to know if your oxygen is low. Many docs advise going to A&E (ER) if it’s 90-92% or less, but also, if you are short of breath at rest, or confused.
    Pulse oximeters are quite expensive at pharmacies (about $40 US), but are about $14 by Amazon. You may want to purchase some to have on hand and share around (washing off with alcohol wipes).

  2. Some health systems provide phone support, but it helps to let their GP know about their illness. Many have handouts they give by phone or email for comfort and health, isolation and quarantine. I rely on the CDC as well, and send portions of it to my patients… First line meds for comfort are acetaminophen (paracetamol), hydration, guaifenesin with dextromethorphan for cough suppressant. If you have asthma, usually you want to be sure to stick to using all your asthma medications faithfully, to optimize lung function. Resting prone on a bed or couch helps a great deal in weathering the “concrete lungs” that you feel with the illness.

  3. Our system is using a lot of monoclonal antibodies for the higher risk folks. If you have it in your area, it’s a good idea to call them right away (you may have to get the number from your GP) to see if you qualify.

  4. If anyone is pregnant, they are at much increased risk for illness and miscarriage or distress of the baby, and particularly clots. They should notify their OB immediately; some need to be on blood thinner like Lovenox (enoxaparin).

It’s a good idea for anyone who is sick to call their primary care health provider for any questions at all, and have someone either on site or checking in on them every few hours. Often, people get progressively worse towards days 5 and 6, but it’s hard to predict. It can be sudden.

Will be praying for you.
[edited to add monoclonal antibodies note and clarify asthma]

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This is a super question! My church community has been very resistant to any prevention measures and has behaved much like “everything is fine” so many cases have remained hush-hush.
If you know a family is sick, all the things you mentioned are great ideas. We dealt with a very different illness years ago, and the cards and calls were really meaningful. Just knowing people knew we were suffering and cared was huge.

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Buying groceries and delivering them to their porch, Calling to check on them. Randy’s suggestions for medical care are good, though monoclonal antibodies that work are in short supply.

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Thanks all! Our leadership team has decided to have services online for a few weeks while our local medical system is catching up. We’ve now got a procedure ready for what to do if someone comes down with Covid. If anyone thinks of anything else, let me know.

It’s so natural to want to try to do things as usual, but at such a significant time in history we don’t want to miss the opportunities to share Jesus’ love in unique ways fit for the time we’re in. Without a plan in place it can slip through the cracks. I’m even thinking it might be an opportunity to show care to those in our circles who aren’t Christians by dropping them a care pack. You never know if it might soften them toward the church.

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