What to Do if Parishioner Tests Positive for COVID-19
If your parish receives a report that someone who has attended a Mass at the Parish was subsequently diagnosed with COVID-19, you must contact your local Board of Health. Check with the Board of Health to see what they advise, and then follow the advice, if any is offered. There can be a wide variety of responses. Some boards will actively pursue this, and others will not. Do not presume anything about your local board of health – simply notify them. They may tell you to notify anyone in close contact with the person who got sick.
Note that because we are wearing masks and social distancing, it is unlikely that merely being in the church at the same time as the person who got sick would constitute “close contact.” Nevertheless, it is better to err on the side of caution. So you should take these steps:
- Make a general announcement to anyone who had signed up to attend the Mass where the exposure might have occurred (if you use a reservation system), on your website and/or through email to those who registered for the Mass in question encouraging them to check with their own physicians and follow their recommendations
- At the very least, parishioners who attended the Mass where the possible exposure occurred should be told to monitor their own health, and if they show any symptoms, contact their own physicians
- Because some people who have been exposed to the virus do indeed contract the illness but never show symptoms, you should urge them to at least notify their physician that a possible exposure has occurred
- Notify the Office of Risk Management via email@example.com or 617-746-5750
- Prior to reopening the church to the public, conduct a thorough, deep, cleaning and disinfecting of the church in accordance with cleaning guidance provided on the Office of Risk Management website, click here and CDC guidelines, click here. Continue routine cleaning and disinfection. This includes cleaning and disinfecting prior to and after Masses.
The Office of Risk Management can help you with the wording of any public announcements if you wish. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact email@example.com if you have any questions.