If Your Parish Has a COVID-19 Case
If your parish receives a report that someone who has attended a Mass was subsequently diagnosed with COVID-19, you must contact your local Board of Health and follow their protocols. 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. 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.” It is better to err on the side of caution; therefore, take the following 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. See below for sample language.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Sample Language for COVID-19 Notification
Please be advised that _________ Parish received a report that someone who attended ___service_______ on ___date_______ was subsequently diagnosed with COVID-19. We have notified the ___city/town_______Board of Health. We have also cleaned and disinfected all of the spaces used during the service. Anyone who may have attended services since that date should monitor their own health and should consider contacting their own physicians for guidance. Thank you for continuing to be vigilant about the importance of social distancing and wearing your mask at all times.