I hope that your first Sunday after the lifting of restrictions was encouraging and that you had more freedom to gather for worship inline with your context and tradition. I’ve been arguing for a cautious but optimistic approach to in person re-gathering following the lifting of lockdown and I’ve argued that we need to be alert to the following key risks on our risk management plans.
- The objective risk of causing an outbreak of COVID cases.
- The risk of failing to meet legal obligations on health and safety and to insurers and landlords.
- The risk of increasing anxiety amongst congregation members -affecting attendance
- The risk of causing concern about church behaviour in the local community affecting your witness.
I would encourage you to keep updating those plans in line with information you are receiving from the congregation, community, insurers etc and the data we are getting about the virus.
So, here’s your regular data update. First of all, towards the end of last week, we began to see the daily number of cases fall.
This is now feeding in to a week on week reduction in the 7 day rolling figure of cases.
The percentage fall is shown in this chart.
Some people have been concerned about the possibility that the drop in figures is not yet real and is simply reflecting a fall in the number of tests taken. It is true that tests have fallen over the next week. However, the fall is not enough to account for the full drop in cases and further we might expect tests taken to fall as less people experience symptoms or are pinged by track and trace. Moreover, an important further clue is as to whether the % of positive pcr cases is rising or falling. If case rates were increasing still we would expect a higher positivity rate. The good news is that over the past few days we have also seen this begin to fall.
In terms of our local data looking at the number of new cases per 100,000 the current figures for my example contexts is as follows:
Bearwood, West Midlands 507.2
Buttershaw, Bradford 576
Rochester, Kent 278.7
All three of my examples continue to have a high case prevalence and that needs to be factored into your own assessments.
My advice is that to continue to build confidence in the congregation and the local community that you look to publicise your risk assessments and that they should include updates on the latest data similar to the one I’m providing here. This can be done on your website and at the entrance to your building.