In furtherance of our church’s efforts to exercise good stewardship for the safety of the congregation and staff, the following information regarding the ongoing COVID-19 (COVID) pandemic is being shared.
With respect to COVID incidents, the Kentucky Department of Public Health (KPH), represented locally by the Northern Kentucky Health Department (NKHD), seeks to help stop the spread of the disease through contact tracing.
The KPH describes contact tracing as a confidential public health resource in which public health workers reach out to those who have contracted COVID to conduct an assessment and to track identified recent in-person contacts.
The identified contacts are notified by public health officials. In this notification, instructions are provided and referrals are made to local resources.
In an effort to determine the best practices for our church in the event of a COVID incident, outreach was made to the NKHD. A representative advised that their Epidemiology Department is charged with the responsibility for contact tracing. The representative added that while they would be contacted by a testing facility of a positive result, contact with them by the church would help expedite their tracing efforts.
To this end, accurate attendance lists will be generated and maintained for all classroom and childcare participants. While no attendance records are generated for worship services, available collateral records and resources will be used to assist in that effort.
Consistent with public health guidelines and the confidential nature of the process, the church will follow this same level of attention. If the church becomes aware of a congregant testing positive for COVID after attending a church service, function, or meeting, then a general announcement will be made to the church of the known case.
This announcement would be made via the church website, email and as appropriate during an upcoming in-person gathering. This announcement would not identify the person or persons but only the date and church activity at which the individual or individuals were present.
In similar manner, if it is determined that an attendee, following their presence at a church activity, learns they had been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID, an announcement will be made to any church members present at the activity, consistent with their known suspected exposure. This announcement will afford these attendees an opportunity to seek testing, monitor themselves and their family members more closely for symptoms, or to adjust their level of contacts with other individuals. If a specific group cannot be identified, the announcement will be more broadly cast to the congregation at large, again without reference to the individual’s personal identity.
Please note that multiple health agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the KPH advise that the time period between exposure to the virus and the onset of symptoms could be from 2 to 14 days. As reported by the CDC, this process is further complicated by recent reports supporting the possibility of COVID transmission by persons who are pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic.
It should further be noted that it is possible that in the event of a COVID incident, you may be contacted by a health care worker stemming from the interview of a person who has contracted COVID prior to the church receiving this information.
The church has initiated and will maintain cleaning and sanitizing protocols. All attendees are strongly encouraged to follow the directives of the posted signage regarding the use of face masks/coverings and maintaining social distancing.
While no protocols can address every situation that may arise, it is the intent of church leadership to continue to take reasonable precautions as we endeavor to act in the best interest of all. Prayerfully, we will continue to walk forward in the spirit that God has given us - not of fear but of power, of love and of a sound mind.