A Word From “Doc” Hall About COVID-19

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The pandemic has affected Emmaus Ministries in various ways. Some communities had to completely shut down, and many of them had trouble staying connected to ministry activities that were important to them. Other communities managed to use technology to stay connected through Virtual Gatherings and Reunion Groups. We can only speculate about what the pandemic and the changes it has brought about will mean for the future of these ministries.

My experience with COVID
From the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve been careful to follow the rules where I live. I was not overly cautious as many people have been, but I wore a mask and washed my hands regularly. I tried to keep a safe distance from people around me. I often told others that I was not following all these precautions just for myself but in hopes that I would not spread COVID to anyone.

On February 25, 2021, I started feeling under the weather. I struggled through the weekend, feeling worse every day. On Monday, March 1, I tested positive for COVID-19. Okay, fabulous—let’s just get through this, right? Not quite!

On Friday, March 5, my daughter took me to the emergency room, where they rushed me to the hospital COVID unit under severe respiratory distress. COVID attacked every weakness of my body, not only respiratory and gastrointestinal, but my blood sugar stayed over 350, and my blood pressure ran about 190/110 for most of the next five days. I was miserable and only saw three nurses and two doctors while I was hospitalized. When I was released and allowed to return home, the first thing I did was hug my wife and daughter fiercely! Then I put my oxygen tube on and went back to bed. I could not return to work until March 22, and even then, I had to pace myself for the first two weeks. I lost 40 pounds—all muscle—in two weeks and still struggle with lingering side effects even today.

My friends, this experience scared me! I continue to wear my mask and take precautions even though most restrictions have been lifted in the area where I live, and I supposedly have immunity for 90 days. I still do not want to take even the slightest chance that I could cause someone else to get sick!

I encourage all Emmaus Ministries Communities to continue to be vigilant. Err on the side of caution—you don’t want your event to forever be known as “The COVID Walk,” or Flight, or Encounter, or Gathering! Following your local, county, state, national, and Centers for Disease Control guidelines is the safest way to progress when your community Board decides it is time to begin in-person events again. Here is a PDF with advice for moving forward: “Guidance for Emmaus Ministries in a Post-COVID World.” I want to emphasize two points:

  • Form a task force of lay and clergy people familiar with the environment in which the community hosts events. Look at event schedules with the facility in mind and find where problems could occur (potential bottlenecks, limit on the number of participants to maintain safe distances, increase in sanitization policies, etc.).
  • Check with your insurance carrier. We have not heard of any carriers who are offering COVID riders on liability policies.

It is always appropriate and important for us to be prudent and cautious when it comes to the well-being of our team members and participants. I can only say again, Please…, please be careful and vigilant in doing all you can to prevent others from becoming ill!


Thanks for listening.

Hess B. “Doc” Hall, Jr.
Assistant Director of Emmaus Ministries