calendar May 27, 2022 in Public Health

CDC Raises Community Levels to High

As of May 27 the CDC lists all of our suburban counties in the “high” community (impact) level. Philadelphia is listed as “medium.” All five SEPA counties are experiencing high community transmission of the virus, according to the CDC.
In obedience to Christ’s command to love our neighbors, we urge congregations to take this (hopefully brief) surge seriously and consider requiring individuals gathering indoors to mask. At present the synod requires masks at events and in the synod offices at all times. United Lutheran Seminary currently requires anyone singing at worship to be masked. We pray that this rise in cases will be brief, and we urge you to combine wearing of masks, keeping people distant, and increasing air circulation/fresh air intake until our community levels are low once again.
Community levels (above) are a measure of how the spread of cases affects the healthcare system and causes serious illness and death. The CDC recommends that everyone wear a mask indoors and on public transportation in communities where the community level is high. The agency also recommends staying at home if you feel sick and getting tested if you experience symptoms, staying up-to-date with vaccinations and boosters, and taking additional precautions if one is at high risk for severe illness.
There is much confusion about the differences between the two metrics, which can produce conflicting results. (In recent weeks our counties experienced high community transmission but showed low community levels.) In his May 19 podcast, Dr. Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota said that when there is high transmission the community levels metric can provide incorrect guidance. Experts suggest making a risk assessment from both data sources.