Florida pastor says 6 church members died of COVID days apart: ‘It’s pain’
Impact Church hosts second vaccination drive as more Florida residents warm up to the idea of being protected against virus
A church in north Florida is grappling with the spread of a COVID-19 Delta variant among its congregation after multiple members died of the disease within the past two weeks.
Six members of Impact Church, a place of worship in Jacksonville, Florida’s most populous city, have succumbed to the disease in the past 10 days, according to the church’s senior pastor, George Davis.
More than a dozen are currently hospitalized with COVID complications and others are battling symptoms at home, Davis told local station WJXT.
“In the last 10 days, we have had six members of our church who passed away from COVID. Four of them were under the age of 35,” Davis said. “All of them were healthy, and the only thing they had in common was they were not vaccinated.”
Davis stated that 10 church members are home with the virus, while as many as 20 are believed to be in the hospital. By comparison, as many as five members who are vaccinated against COVID-19 have contracted the virus.
Impact Church adheres to guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, requiring members to wear masks when entering and sanitizing the building in between services, according to Davis.
“It’s pain,” Davis said. “These are actual people that I know, that I have pastored. One 24-year-old kid, I’ve known him since he was a toddler.”
Impact Church held a vaccination drive in March, helping more than 800 people be inoculated against COVID-19, as reported by Newsweek. The church has another drive scheduled to take place on Sunday as it hopes to capitalize on the moment as members once skeptical of vaccines warm up to the idea of getting a shot, Impact Church spokesperson Courtney Cole told the outlet.
The church is collaborating with the University of Florida Health.
“Pastor Davis said he is seeing more hesitant church members getting the COVID-19 vaccine,” Cole said as quoted in Newsweek. “Some are even making plans to get the shot, during the vaccine event the church is hosting on Sunday, August 8th.”
COVID-19 cases in Florida have been rising high since July. As of Saturday, the weekly average of new cases is 19,250 in the state. Just 49% of residents of all ages have been fully vaccinated, according to the New York Times.
In June, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order preventing Florida schools from issuing mask mandates.
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