calendar December 10, 2021 in Public Health

COVID Update: Increasing Cases Challenge Churches At Christmas

As new COVID 19 cases spike across Southeastern Pennsylvania, churches face new concerns about keeping members, leaders, and neighbors safe during the holidays. All our SEPA counties are seeing steep increases in new cases and a rising infection rate. Combined these data points indicate the likelihood of further spread through December.

As Lutheran Christians, we proclaim that we love our neighbors as God loves us which means that we wish to do no harm to those who worship with us, those who lead the community, and the families, friends and neighbors we will celebrate with.

Church leaders who are planning services, which are likely to be highly attended, are encouraged to maintain or strengthen COVID mitigation efforts and pay attention to the latest data trends.

To recap, mitigation measures include vaccines, non-medical interventions such as masking and physical distancing, handwashing, facilities cleaning and ventilation, and more. Mitigation measures require a layered approach. None are effective by themselves but provide more protection when applied together.

Likewise, don’t focus on just one metric. Consider the number of cases and the direction they are trending, the infection rate (which multiplies each case to show increased spread), and the number of ICU beds available in your area.

The Synod has adopted a new policy for events that we host and sponsor. Read all about it here: Synod Events During the Pandemic