Wesley COVID Updates
September 30, 2022
The Wesley COVID Response Team monitors ongoing developments and provides updates on public health advisories and reminders of Wesley’s policies. Wesley requires face masks in the sanctuary during the Sunday worship service and encourages face masks indoors at other times in accordance with COVID-19 Community Levels and local advisories. This update will help members of the congregation to take action individually.
In Worcester County, the COVID-19 Community Level is Medium (September 29, 2022). At this level, the CDC recommends:
- If you are at high risk for severe illness, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions
- Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines
- Get tested if you have symptoms
People may choose to wear a mask at any time. People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask. If you are immunocompromised, learn more about how to protect yourself.
In response to changing CDC guidance, Wesley modified distancing markers in the sanctuary on August 21. The CDC no longer recommends six feet social distancing and Wesley removed barriers on many pews in the sanctuary. Wesley will retain tape marking every other pew in one section of the sanctuary. Wesley continues to require a mask during the Sunday worship service at this time.
On August 11, 2022, the CDC revised its guidance for how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. The CDC continues to recommend staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, improving ventilation, and testing when needed. The CDC no longer recommends six-feet distancing or quarantining from potential exposure to COVID-19. If you were exposed, recommendations include wearing a mask for 10 days, testing, and monitoring for symptoms. People who have suspected or confirmed cases should stay home and follow recommended steps.
Public Health Departments monitor developments and Wesley follows their guidance regarding mandates. According to public health officials, “while the days of mask mandates are hopefully behind us, we should make a risk assessment for ourselves to determine whether masks are appropriate.”
Wesley also encourages wearing face masks and keeping COVID-19 vaccinations up to date, including booster shots. Vaccination is the most important step that individuals can take to protect themselves from severe illness. Anyone age 6 months or older may receive a COVID-19 vaccine. All people ages 5+ are eligible for booster shots and new booster shots will be available in September. Wesley strongly recommends vaccinations and booster shots for everyone who is eligible.
Vaccinations, masks, air filtration, testing, and health checks mitigate risks and provide layers of protection to anyone attending Wesley Church in person. Anyone who wishes to wear a face mask should to do so at any time. One-way masking with a high-quality mask (KN95 or N95) provides significant protection. Wesley has invested in air filtration in the sanctuary and other common areas. Watch for symptoms before coming to Wesley. We strongly request that anyone feeling sick or experiencing symptoms should stay home rather than come to Wesley in person.
Worship services at Wesley are available remotely, live via Zoom and in recordings on Wesley’s YouTube Channel. Anyone may watch the service remotely.
As we learn to live with COVID-19, individuals will make their own choices at Wesley and in the wider community. Outside groups at Wesley are informed that Wesley follows current state and city mask advisories. Wesley has taken significant steps that offer layers of protection and mitigate risks as we make the transition to a disease that circulates at varying levels and seasonally.
Additional COVID-19 resources are available from the CDC and Mass.gov, including Vaccines and Testing, and from the City of Worcester for local Vaccination and Coronavirus information. Dashboards for Worcester County and the City of Worcester (including wastewater testing) provide additional information on local conditions.