Around 400 protestors reportedly gathered outside GraceLife Church in Alberta, Canada on Sunday after it was closed last week for violating local COVID-19 health orders.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) said it “physically closed” the building and will be preventing access to it until GraceLife “can demonstrate the ability to comply with Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health’s restrictions.”
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers barred congregants’ access to the church Sunday.
According to reports, RCMP erected a three-layer fence around the church last Wednesday.
In response, churchgoers gathered outside to sing hymns and read bible versus.
In a video circulating on social media, hundreds of police officers are seen surrounding GraceLife church on Sunday.
RCMP issued a statement Sunday saying there were on the scene to preserve “peace” and “maintain public safety.”
“The RCMP uses necessary measures to protect the fundamental freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, to promote the safety of all citizens, to enforce laws and to maintain peace and and order,” the statement read.
In an email obtained by FaithWire, GraceLife Pastor John MacArthur praised the church members as they have begun meeting privately to hold worship services “amid a continued government crackdown on their freedom.”
The church is meeting at an undisclosed location and broadcasting its services on YouTube.
“Amazing to have an underground church in Canada,” said MacArthur. “This because the government of Alberta triple-fenced the church in and locked it so people couldn’t get there.”
MacArthur said the government has “no legitimate reason” to shutdown GraceLife Church noting the church’s attendance is still 15% of its facility’s total occupancy.
MacArthur pointed out that of the 4.4 million people living in Alberta, the province has recorded 2,013 COVID-19 deaths, more than half of which were people aged 80 years and older.
MacArthur said despite the intense restrictions, he is thankful for the “massive outcry” of support for the Canadian church.
Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy
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NY Gov Hochul issues executive order: Polio ‘an official diisaster’
New York Democrat Governor Kathy Hochul on Friday issued an executive order that Polio is now considered an official disaster.
“On polio, we simply cannot roll the dice,” said Dr. Mary T. Bassett, New York State Health Commissioner. “If you or your child are unvaccinated or not up-to-date with vaccinations, the risk of paralytic disease is real. I urge New Yorkers to not accept any risk at all.”
The virus that causes polio has been found in the wastewater of more than one county, according to state health officials. “A sewage sample from Nassau County collected in August tested positive for poliovirus, following the prior detection of the virus in wastewater samples in Rockland County, Orange County, Sullivan County and New York City, further indicating that the virus is spreading in the area to some degree” reports The Wall Street Journal.
“The Nassau County sample was also genetically linked to the single confirmed case of paralytic polio that had been identified this summer in a young adult resident in Rockland County who was unvaccinated.”
Hochul’s executive order has been issued through Oct. 9, and expands the network of providers able to administer polio vaccinations to “include emergency-medical-services workers, midwives and pharmacists.”
The new order makes providers send polio-immunization data to the New York State Department of Health in order to better help health officials “focus vaccination efforts on areas of low uptake.”
New York state health officials have sent out alerts to providers, have hung fliers “in houses of worship, grocery stores and summer camps and talked with community leaders about boosting vaccination rates this summer.”
The Wall Street Journal Reports:
The poliovirus spreads mostly when a person touches their mouth after coming in contact with an infected person’s feces. Most infected people don’t develop any symptoms but can still spread the virus, a major concern for health officials, and around a quarter develop flulike symptoms. Those who are vaccinated are at low risk, health officials have said, as getting three doses of the polio vaccine administered in the U.S. is at least 99% effective at preventing paralytic disease.
Health officials, however, also said that certain New Yorkers who are fully vaccinated but at high-risk should receive a single lifetime booster. That applies to individuals who will or might have close contact with a suspected or confirmed polio patient, as well as healthcare workers in those areas who might handle poliovirus samples or treat patients who might have polio…
Two forms of the virus can cause paralysis, one of them being the wild poliovirus found in nature. The case in New York, on the other hand, is caused by vaccine-derived poliovirus, a mutated form of a strain used in an oral polio vaccine…
The oral polio vaccine, used in many parts of the world outside of the U.S., relies on a weakened, live form of the virus that recently inoculated children shed in their feces. In places with lower vaccine uptake, the weakened virus can sometimes circulate and mutate to become more like the wild virus and potentially paralyze people who are not fully vaccinated.
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