Last week, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) as pandemic, and Gov. Lee and President Trump declared the COVID-19 outbreak a state and national emergency, respectively. Also, this past Sunday, March 15, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommended cancelling or postponing events with 50 people or more for several weeks.

With the health and safety of God’s children, families, teachers, employees, parishioners and neighbors being of the utmost importance to us across West Tennessee, please see Bishop David P. Talley’s letter and decree on cancelling the public celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

Bishop Talley and the Chancery leaders will continue to keep up-to-date on the COVID-19 situation and any latest recommendations from local, state and federal governments–Shelby County Health Department, Tennessee Department of Health and CDC. Our governments continue to work together to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the United States and are working hard at developing effective treatments for the virus.

Clergy, parishioners and neighbors will continue to be kept well informed through Diocese and Parish announcements, our Diocesan Website (cdom.org), our Diocesan Facebook (facebook.com/CatholicDioceseofMemphis/) and News Releases to local media.

In the meantime, if you have any questions/concerns, please contact Rick Ouellette, director of Communications, CDOM, at rick.ouellette@cc.cdom.org or 901-573-4002.

Special Report- COVID-19, Office of Communications

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the novel (new) coronavirus, first detected in China in December, has now been detected in the U.S. and at least 36 other countries and territories. On January 20, in collaboration with the CDC, state and local health departments in the U.S. began identifying and monitoring all persons who have had close contact with patients confirmed to have “coronavirus disease 2019” (“COVID-19”), the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, now identified as SARS-CoV-2.

SARS-CoV-2 is a member of a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Though rare, people can become infected with animal coronaviruses and then spread the virus to other people. Like many of these viruses, SARS-CoV-2 originated in bats.

Many of the patients in Wuhan, China, where the outbreak was initially detected, had a common connection with a large seafood and live-animal market. Subsequent reports of the disease indicate that the virus was then being spread person-to-person in China and then in other countries. The virus from patients in the U.S. is similar to the one that China initially detected, indicating that it emerged from the same animal reservoir.

How does the virus spread?
The virus is thought to spread primarily from person to person, within six feet of proximity. Respiratory droplets are spread when an infected person sneezes or coughs. They land in the mouths or noses of others, and then are inhaled into their lungs. Although not thought to be the primary way, it may be possible to become infected by touching your mouth, nose or eyes after touching a surface that has the virus.

Currently, there is no evidence that the virus is transmitted through food, but the normal safety practice of washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before handling food should be observed. According to the CDC, coronaviruses generally have poor survivability on surfaces, so there is low risk that the virus will spread from food products or packaging shipped over a period of days or weeks at room temperature or below.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The CDC website, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html, provides extensive information about COVID-19 and the response of health professionals around the world. Public awareness of the symptoms and how to report suspected cases is essential in mitigating the spread of the virus. COVID-19 can cause mild symptoms in some people but severe illness and death for others.
Symptoms may appear two-14 days after exposure and include:
Fever
Cough
Shortness of breath

The CDC alert directs people to call their healthcare professional if they develop symptoms, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if they have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19. Check cdc.gov for a list of areas where the virus is widespread.

How can I protect myself from being infected with COVID-19?
Since a vaccine or drug is not currently available for preventing or treating COVID-19, the CDC recommends that individuals take action to prevent the spread of the disease. The CDC offers the following guidance:

• Practice everyday preventive actions now. Remind everyone in your household of the importance of practicing everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
• Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
• Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) using a regular household detergent and water. If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent and water prior to disinfection.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.

Archbishop Responds to COVID-19 Outbreak in Washington State
Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, (USCCB) issued the following statement March 13 regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19):
With the worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus, we are confronted once more with the fragility of our lives, and again we are reminded of our common humanity — that the peoples of this world are our brothers and sisters, that we are all one family under God.
God does not abandon us, he goes with us even now in this time of trial and testing. In this moment, it is important for us to anchor our hearts in the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. Now is the time to intensify our prayers and sacrifices for the love of God and the love of our neighbor. Let us draw closer to one another in our love for him, and rediscover the things that truly matter in our lives.
United with our Holy Father Pope Francis, let us pray in solidarity for our brothers and sisters here and around the world who are sick. Let us pray for those who have lost loved ones to this virus. May God console them and grant them peace.
We pray also for doctors, nurses, and caregivers, for public health officials and all civic leaders. May God grant them courage and prudence as they seek to respond to this emergency with compassion and in service to the common good.
In this time of need, I invite all the faithful to seek together the maternal intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and I share this prayer with you: 


Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe
Holy Virgin of Guadalupe,
Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son,
as you did at the wedding in Cana.
Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,

and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.
For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.
In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.
We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,

health of the sick and cause of our joy.
Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

Response of Catholic Dioceses to COVID-19 Outbreak March 13, 2020

All Masses suspended:
Archdiocese of Boston
Archdiocese of Chicago
Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Diocese of Cleveland
Diocese of Columbus
Diocese of Steubenville
Diocese of Toledo
Diocese of Youngstown)
Archdiocese of Detroit
Diocese of Grand Rapids
Archdiocese of Denver
Diocese of Cheyenne
Diocese of Colorado Springs
Diocese of Pueblo
Archdiocese of Newark
Diocese of Little Rock (for weekend of March 21-22)
Diocese of Salt Lake City
Archdiocese of Santa Fe
Diocese of San Jose
Archdiocese of Seattle
Archdiocese of Washington
Diocese of U.S. Virgin Islands

Dispensation from obligation to attend Sunday Mass announced for all Catholics:

Diocese of Memphis
Archdiocese Diocese of Hartford
Diocese of Providence
Diocese of Bridgeport
Archdiocese of Indianapolis
Diocese of Fort Wayne
Diocese of Wichita
Archdiocese of Los Angeles
Diocese of Lansing
Diocese of Lexington (for weekend of March 14-15)
Diocese of Albany
Diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey
Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey
Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis
Archdioceses of Milwaukee
Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island
Diocese of Syracuse
Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Dioceses of Allentown
Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
Diocese of Erie
Diocese of Greensburg
Diocese of Harrisburg
Pittsburgh
Diocese of Scranton

Dispensation allowed, if sick:
Diocese of Memphis
Archdiocese of Baltimore
Diocese of Brooklyn
Archdiocese of Mobile
Dioceses Jackson
Springfield, Mass
Diocese of Ogdensburg
Archdiocese of St. Louis, Dioceses of Jefferson City, Kansas City-St. Joseph,
Springfield-Cape Girardeau):

If seriously think you are at risk:
Diocese of Memphis
Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon
Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

If over 60:
Diocese of Memphis
Diocese of Spokane

If sick or a caretaker on someone who is sick:
Diocese of Memphis
Archdiocese of Atlanta

Prayer to St. Roch (patron of contagious illnesses)
O Blessed Saint Roch, Patron of the sick, Have pity on those Who lie upon a bed of suffering.
Your power was so great When you were in this world, That by the sign of the Cross, Many were healed of their diseases.
Now that you are in heaven, Your power is not less. Offer, then, to God Our sighs and tears And obtain for us that health we seek Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.
(Repeat the following 3 times)
Saint Roch, pray for us, That we may be preserved From all diseases of body and soul.

Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe
Holy Virgin of Guadalupe,
Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son,
as you did at the wedding in Cana.
Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.
For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.
In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.
We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.
Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

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