On March 4, 2020, during the North American Division monthly staff meeting, NAD administration invited Tim Northrop, president of Adventist Risk Management, and Dr. Peter Landless, Health Ministries director of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, to present on what the church is doing in regard to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). They shared best practices on how to help prevent the spread of the virus, such as washing hands frequently, using hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available, not shaking hands, and regularly wiping down common areas with disinfectant. They also encouraged entities who are holding meetings with large numbers of people to consider alternative options in case the virus continues to spread. (Resource material links from ARM and GC Health Ministries are listed below.)
GC president Ted N.C. Wilson, in a March 2 communication to church leaders, responded to the growing health challenges COVID-19 has caused. He wrote, “In the past few days, the situation has been highly accelerated by the identification of an increasing number of people with the virus in various places around the world. This has resulted in governments and airlines restricting travel and activities. … A few weeks ago, we asked our world church to pray about this situation, especially in relation to China. I have just asked the church to pray again.”
Wilson shared that questions have arisen about what may happen with the upcoming General Conference Session, scheduled for June 25 to July 4, 2020, in Indianapolis, Indiana, in light of the COVID-19 situation.
“We will share with you at SM [spring meeting] what possible alternative plans may be recommended. Let’s pray that none of that will be needed. God is in control. We certainly do not want to cause any unnecessary alarm or concern but felt it was necessary to issue a call to prayer and a statement indicating that at this time the plans for the General Conference Session in Indianapolis are as have been planned. … We place this in God’s hands.”
The NAD administration is restricting international travel for its employees at this time. No one is authorized to travel to countries that have been placed on any travel bans or travel restrictions (level 3 and higher) by the U.S. government and federal health authorities. It is recommended that persons visit the U.S. Department of State website’s travel advisory page for a list of countries under travel advisory (listed below).
In a message to NAD employees, administration said, “The NAD is monitoring the situation daily to determine on-going response as warranted, endeavoring to monitor things with a balanced approach. We are following the GC administration and GC Health Department’s lead in these matters.”
Adventist Risk Management’s webpage link: https://adventistrisk.org/en-us/safety-resources/solutions-newsletter/2020/march/information-regarding-coronavirus-covid19-naden
General Conference Adventist Health Ministries article by Dr. Peter Landless: http://healthministries.com/articles/homepage/coronavirus-update
U.S. Department of State travel advisory page link: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
World Health Organization COVID-19 link: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
CDC COVID-19 Resources for Households link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/index.html