In the early days of this pandemic, few of us personally knew of someone who contracted COVID-19. Now, I would surmise that most of us know someone in our sphere of influence who has tested positive for the coronavirus.
During June of 2020, I worked with the Staff and Elders to determine our procedure if someone in attendance at Calvary tested positive for COVID-19. Obviously, we are in a learning process. This article contains our best thinking at this time. We continue to learn, grow, and improve this process as we go along. (And, this process has been edited as of October 2021 based on new learning. For example, the quarantine period was reduced from 14 days to 10 days, based on recommendations by the CDC.)
Here is what we will do if we discover that someone at Calvary has tested positive for COVID-19
- We will handle each situation on a case-by-case basis.
- If someone in our congregation tests positive for COVID-19:
- We will ask that person not to come to church until they are well and are cleared by a doctor to return to church, work, and normal activities, or when they get a negative COVID-19 test.
- We will investigate to find out if he/she was in attendance at any activity or service at Calvary.
- If he/she was in attendance at an activity or service at Calvary, we will investigate further, asking the person who has contracted COVID-19 about the people with whom he/she had close personal contact while at church. Close personal contact is defined as spending 15 minutes or more with someone inside a 3 to 6-foot circle or direct and close physical contact (example: hugging).
- Based upon our investigation and conversations:
- We will contact the people whom we identified, letting them know that someone with whom they had close personal contact at church– which is defined as spending 15 minutes or more within a 3 to 6-foot circle or direct and close physical contact (example: hugging)– has tested positive for COVID-19.
- If they have been in close contact (within 3-6 feet of someone for 15 minutes or more) with someone who has COVID-19 and are fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 illness within the last 90 days, they do NOT need to quarantine unless they experience symptoms.
- If they have not been vaccinated, we will recommend that they self-quarantine for 10 days after their last contact with the person who has COVID-19 or until they get a negative COVID-19 test.
- We will ask them not to come to church until those 10 days or up or until they have tested negative for COVID-19. Here is our reason for this action: we ask people to self-quarantine to protect the congregation and their families.
- We will suggest that they monitor their health for any sudden and severe symptoms. In the case of sudden and severe symptoms, we suggest that they seek medical attention and/or get tested.
- For all close contacts:
- Watch for fever (100.0 degrees or above), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
- If you develop symptoms, immediately self-isolate and contact your healthcare provider for guidance and testing.
- You should test 3 to 5 days from date of last known exposure.
Things to keep in mind:
When we find out that someone at Calvary has COVID-19, we will seek to work the problem and do an investigation. Our key assignments as leaders include doing an investigation and trying to avoid feeding fear. We investigate because we want to fight the spread of the virus to vulnerable people. And, we want to work our plan in such a way as to fight fear, which is rampant in our culture right now.
We have a desire to tamp down on fear. It is a worthy thing to do. Our society is afraid of catching COVID-19. Our society is making decisions based out of fear. For some people, being infected with COVID-19 has resulted in significant suffering and even loss of life. We grieve over such suffering and loss. Most people, however, will recover from COVID-19. (There is a high recovery rate for those who get the coronavirus. And, some of the people who have COVID-19 have no symptoms.)
We realize that we can’t protect everyone. Our job is not to keep people from getting sick. We continue to try to protect the vulnerable and take extra care with those who have comprised immune systems or heath issues. We continue to suggest that people who are in the high-risk category due to age, physical, medical, or autoimmunity issues, should be more careful and more cautious.
It is a false expectation to believe that we can protect everyone. And, since we have more than just a problem with COVID-19, we are trying to fight other battles as well (like the battle with fear).
We believe that we have a good plan in place. However, we realize that our plan isn’t perfect; having a perfect plan is a false expectation. We do commit to learning, growing, and improving our plan as we move forward.
Our plan in action:
On Tuesday, October 19, I tested positive for COVID. I have been dealing with a sinus infection for weeks. Since I had someone whom I knew who tested positive recently for COVID, and because I had a change in my symptoms on Monday, I decided to get tested.
By the way, Tammy and I were fully vaccinated on May 3, 2021. I think that is why my symptoms have been mild and more like allergies and a sinus infection than anything else.
Today, I will contact my physician for best practices regarding a treatment plan for COVID.
Also today, I made a list of people whom I hugged on Sunday morning and am contacting them. (Thankfully, I didn’t get the chance to spend 15 minutes or more with any one person on Sunday.)
It is good news that Tammy has tested negative for COVID. We give thanks to God. And, we continue to pray for the Lord’s grace and protection on our lives, our families, our congregation, and those around us.
Please pray for my physical healing and complete recovery from COVID.
And, let’s pray that our God will crush this disease, protect us from fear, and lead us his presence of health and wholeness.
As always, if you have questions or comments about any of the issues in this blog, please communicate with me. You can reach me via email or cell (281-686-5291). For regular updates, please check the Calvary website and blog.