On January 31, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency because of the emergence of SARS-CoV-2. After thirteen renewals, the public health emergency expired on May 11, 2023. Authorizations to collect certain public health data expired on that date as well, causing changes to national monitoring and reporting of COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that surveillance of community transmission level and COVID-19 community level metrics have been discontinued as of May 11. As a result, Shadyside Presbyterian Church will no longer share this status on a weekly basis through the church website, as we have been doing since last summer. The CDC has replaced COVID-19 community levels with COVID-19 hospitalization levels to guide the prevention decisions of individuals and communities in the future. COVID-19 precautions within the church building will be lifted as of May 28. Of course, people may choose to wear a mask at any time.
For nearly three years, the Shadyside Presbyterian Church COVID-19 Task Force met regularly to monitor data and to prayerfully discern our church’s response to the pandemic. Formed by Session in June 2020, the task force was comprised of Trustee Alexander G. Dick and Elders Donald P. Coffelt Jr., Brigetta P. Del Re, Robert J. Ferguson, Carla M. Gedman, Robert B. Luthultz, and J. Alexander Viehman. The Reverend Austin Crenshaw Shelley provided pastoral leadership beginning in the summer of 2021, even before she officially joined the church staff. We express our profound gratitude to each of these individuals for their extraordinary commitment to the well-being of our congregation and our community, generously devoting their time in order to give these matters the careful and faithful consideration required. As we thank them for their efforts, we also thank you for your prayers for the task force as they made important decisions that impacted the church and our neighbors. Finally, with humble and grateful hearts, we return thanks to the God who heals and who has sustained us throughout these challenging times, guiding us in right paths.
“Surely He has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases … .” (Isaiah 53:4a)
To read all previous COVID-19 announcements, visit the coronavirus archive by clicking here.
Architectural Photograph: Detail of a caduceus in the 1968 bronze bas-relief by Virgil Cantini at Shadyside Presbyterian Church. Dedicated to Shadyside physician W.D. Richards, the artwork depicts the woman who touched the hem of Christ’s garment and was healed (Luke 8:43-48).