The Faith-Based Committee intends to recruit and support faith-based reentry providers and congregations embracing criminal justice reform.
Reopening Houses of Worship:
Muntu Davis, MD, the Los Angeles County Health Officer, has issued new guidance for reopening houses of worship, for a reduced number of congregants, if specific measures are put in place prior to holding in-person services or activities. Please see the attached protocols (addressing staff health; physical distancing; infection control; communication with staff, congregants, and visitors; and equitable access to services). Every congregation's leadership will need to establish a COVID-19 prevention plan, conduct staff training, maintain cleaning and screening procedures, and regularly evaluate their practices for compliance.
Since COVID-19 can be transmitted through droplets from the nose or mouth even among people who are not aware they are infected, it is recommended that faith communities continue to hold services or activities online or by telephone. If congregations can meet the required guidance, and wish to reopen, it will be best to adapt creatively and avoid choral singing, group recitation, and passing objects between people, to reduce the risk of transmission.
The guidance will be reviewed in 21 days and the Health Officer, in coordination with the State, may change make new recommendations based on the data they study (number of positive cases, hospitalized cases, deaths, hospital intensive care capacity, etc.) Everyone over age 2 who is able, must continue to wear cloth face coverings, keep at least 6 feet of distance away from others, self-isolate if ill for 10 days, and quarantine if exposed for 14 days. Exposure risk occurs within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more with a person who is infected.
Dawn Terashita, MD, of Acute Communicable Disease Control, gave a briefing on Thursday. She shared that prior to entering a house of worship, everyone should be asked if they have a fever, and if someone has a fever or cough, or looks unwell, they should be asked not to stay and to go home. Dr. Terashita emphasized the importance of deescalating the situation if conflict arises. Protocols should be communicated to congregants prior to arrival, as well as posted at each location. An outbreak is now defined as five or more cases with a common source of infection within a 14-day period. The Department of Public Health will work with congregational leaders whose house of worship are the source of outbreaks, to notify everyone who was exposed to a confirmed positive case.