COVID update for churches

Here’s the latest COVID data for those using it to make risk assessment decisions in churches.

Cases continue to creep up although not by much and promisingly the daily increase seems to have slowed down a little.

This does fit with models suggesting that there is a ceiling on growth caused by growing levels of immunity due to vaccines and natural immunity through infection.

The hospitalisation data is still concerning me a little. Admissions have been increasing again.

More importantly we are seeing the % ratio back up again and that is probably part of the driver for increases in admissions.

I suggested the other day that the drop below 2% may have been a false bottom mirroring the false peak in cases from the Euros. However, we need to keep an eye on this because if the % continues to grow then it may indicate some waning in vaccinations. The hope is that if we see cases bumping along or even starting to fall again as the exit wave declines and more vaccines take effect then we should be okay to get through until September when we benefit from booster jabs.

In better news, we are now seeing the benefits of the fall in cases at the end of July on mortality.

All of this means that there probably is going to be little change in terms of risk assessment. The current case and admission situation isn’t enough to change the level of objective risk in terms of a spike in cases and hospitalisations. However, it is probably also still too high to significantly change the minds of the ultra cautious.

It seems that churches are seeing a gentle increase in attendance. My advice would be to continue with cautious mitigation. This would include continuing to ask people to wear masks when moving about and when singing. It would also include providing additional space. Some churches that have had booking systems are seeing people arriving on the day without booking.

My advice would be

  1. Set out additional chairs beyond what you expect to fill. This will reduce the risk of having people turning up and clustering in entrance ways looking for free seats. So, if your building holds 100 normally put out 100 chairs but aim to fill 50-60 of them.
  2. If you are reaching your COVID capacity add a second service. So if you got 60 people at your last service and you can fit in 100, add in that second service rather than seeking to fit in an extra 20 people this week.