COVID-19 cases continue to ravage the state of Florida. A Jacksonville-based church has lost six members within the last 10 days due to the new Delta variant.
Senior Pastor George Davis, who preaches at Impact Church in Arlington, told News4Jax there are 15 to 20 members of his congregation that are currently in the hospital with COVID and his phone hasn’t stopped ringing in the last week.
“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. All of them were healthy, and the only thing they had in common was they were not vaccinated,” Davis said.
The pastor says there’s an additional 10 people who are at home with the coronavirus and three-to-five vaccinated members also tested positive. “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. The first memorial service for the members who have died is scheduled for this weekend.
This week, the Florida health department reported an average of 19,215 COVID cases per day. About 1 in 5 of all COVID cases in the U.S. have been reported in Florida over the past couple weeks, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also reported this week, Florida leads the nation in the number of adults and children admitted in hospitals with confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Pastor Davis told the Jacksonville TV station that it wasn’t until July when he first found out about a member testing positive. Since then, cases have piled up and many people are dying shortly after they go to the hospital, the pastor mentioned.
Impact Church follows the CDC guidelines, practices social distancing, offers hand sanitizer and aggressively cleans the auditorium in between services. While members from the church are contracting the virus, Davis said he is certain they are catching COVID outside of the church.
The pastor has quickly become a staunch advocate for the COVID vaccination. He’s encouraging his members and others to get informed about the disease and get the jab. On Sunday (Aug. 8), Davis and his church will be hosting an event where they will be offering the Pfizer vaccine for churchgoers and other members of the Jacksonville community. “All I know is my heart’s passion is to help the people that I’m called to serve and do whatever I can to help see to it that they are in a healthier place,” Davis said.