JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville church pastor said in the last 10 days, six of his church members have died from COVID-19, and more of their members are currently in the hospital.
Now the church is pushing to get as many people vaccinated as possible.
Senior Pastor George Davis at Impact Church in Arlington told News4Jax on Friday 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,” he said.
He says 15 to 20 members are now in the hospital, another 10 or so are at home with the virus 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.”
Davis said it was late July when they first learned a member tested positive. From then, it’s been a cascade of additional cases. Those who passed, he says, weren’t in the hospital long before they died.
During church services, Davis said the church requires masks, the auditorium is thoroughly cleaned in between services, it practices social distancing and offers hand sanitizer.
Davis said Friday he’s certain after speaking with the families of those members they contracted it from somewhere outside of the church.
Even though the church follows CDC guidance, Davis is pushing to get more people vaccinated.
The church held a vaccine event in March where he says 800 people were vaccinated.
With the surge in the greater Jacksonville community, and in his church, they’re now holding another event on Sunday. The event is open to the public.
“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.
Davis encourages everyone to get informed and get vaccinated. The free vaccine event is Sunday at the church from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The church is working with UF Health and offering the Pzifer vaccine.
The first memorial service for the members who passed will be this weekend.