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Churches Urged to Go Virtual Again

The Wisconsin Council of Churches released a statement Tuesday in which they recommended churches across the state return to remote operations as the COVID-19 crisis deepens in Wisconsin.

The most recent state Executive Order to limit indoor gatherings to 25% of building capacity exempts religious services and places of worship. That means churches are free to continue operations as they have been, but the ecumenical organization recommends that that they not gather in person.

“Our obligation as faithful people is not to the minimum standard, but to behavior that demonstrates care for the most vulnerable and the well-being of the entire community,” said the Rev. Kerri Parker, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Council of Churches. “In view of the high level of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, it is neither prudent nor pastoral to gather groups of people together at this time. We urge you to put a hold on any plans for worshiping or having fellowship together in physical place for the time being.”

Approximately 25% of mainline Protestant churches are offering worship indoors so far this fall, according to the organization’s survey. The others are holding worship outdoors. Many continue worship online.

“Being a faithful people is not abstract; it is about applying our faith when it matters,” continued Rev. Parker. “This virus is not going to get itself under control. We have a responsibility to each other. We are able to worship, pray, provide faith formation and pastoral care, and address other community needs in ways that limit the risk of spreading COVID, to save lives and relieve the strain on the health system. We have a moral imperative to do so.”

The Wisconsin Council of Churches is a network of Christian churches and faith-based organizations committed to working together across differences, according to the organization.

The organization counts twenty Christian traditions representing over 2,000 congregations in its membership.

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This article originally appeared on the Across Wisconsin Patch

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New coronavirus testing site coming to Elkridge; additional locations announced at churches through October

A new coronavirus testing site in Elkridge will open later this month, Howard County announced this week.

Quality First Urgent Care is opening a drive-thru testing site at the Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department, 5700 Rowanberry Drive, according to a county news release.

The site will open Oct. 12 and will be operated from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

“As part of the public safety team in Howard County, it is imperative that we support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” fire Chief William Anuszewski said in a statement. “The ability to assist with a feasible location for COVID-19 testing without impacting our ability to continue providing quality emergency service is a win-win for the community we serve.”

A doctor’s order will not be required at the site. Appointments can be made ahead of time, but they are not required.

“Opening a testing site in the northern part of the county allows more residents to conveniently obtain testing near them,” Howard County Health Officer Dr. Maura Rossman said in a statement. “The more people who are tested and are aware of their COVID status, the more effective we can be at controlling the spread of the virus.”

The announcement comes a week after the closing of the COVID-19 testing site at the Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program location in Columbia. The VEIP site stopped serving as a testing site in order to allow the emissions location to resume regular operations, according to the county.

Howard County General Hospital also released additional community testing sites for the month of October:

8 a.m. to noon Saturday — First Baptist Church of Guilford, 7504 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia

8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 10 — Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4100 St. John’s Lane, Ellicott City

8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 25 — Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6020 Ten Oaks Road, Clarksville

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 31 — Celebration Church, 7101 Riverwood Drive, Columbia

Advance registration is encouraged at bit.ly/j2bh-testing.

Other testing sites in Howard County include:

Howard County General Hospital (drive-thru, appointment/doctor’s order required), 5755 Cedar Lane, Columbia: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday

Quality First Urgent Care (drive-thru), Savage Volunteer Fire Company, 8521 Corridor Road: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

Quality First Urgent Care (drive-thru), Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department, 5700 Rowanberry Drive: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, starting Oct. 12

OUCH! Urgent Care, 6020 Meadowridge Center Drive, Suite F, Elkridge: 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Sunday

Righttime Medical Care Urgent Care, 6334 Cedar Lane, Columbia: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Sunday

First Call Urgent Care Center/Centennial Medical Group, 10981 Johns Hopkins Road, Laurel: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday

All Care Urgent Care (drive-thru, appointment required), 9396 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to