Here are the weekly COVID-19 statistics for Beaver County, PA as of January 13, 2022, with both indexes again showing skyrocketing, record high levels.
- Note in particular how the vertical axis of the Incidence Rate chart has had to be expanded to such a degree to accommodate the current high numbers that three of the four categories (Low, Moderate, and even Substantial) have been reduced to an almost unreadable mishmash at the bottom of the Incidence Rate chart.
Even though we all tend to become numb to the latest numbers and just want to put the pandemic behind us, this chart painfully emphasizes how far we are from returning to our pre-pandemic way of life.
- The Incidence Rate increased from 843.0 to 1,195.0 (an increase of 352.0, or 41.7%) in the HIGH category.
Perspective – Prior to last, for the entire period of the pandemic since we began tracking weekly readings on July 30, 2020, a weekly Incidence Rate had only been over 600 once (on December 18, 2020). Last week, we have a reading over 800 and this week’s number is well over 1,100 .
- The PCR Positivity Rate has increased from 27.9 to 30.2 in the HIGH category.
Perspective – Prior to last week, during the same period, the highest that the PCR Percent Positivity Rates had been were 17.6 on December 18, 2020 and 17.9 on December 9, 2021. Last week, the rate was 27.9, and this week, the rate is 30.2.
(Allegheny County’s figures also remained in the stratosphere during the past week from 1,534.2 to 1,528.6 and from 32.7% to 32.9%.)
- Beaver County is now classified as SUBSTANTIAL on the original PA DOH scale and HIGH on the CDC scale.
Perspective – If both metrics are Moderate (i.e., 10-50 Incidence Rate and 5%-10% PCR Positivity Rate), the PA Dept. of Health’s recommended school instructional model is Hybrid Learning.
Even so, full in-classroom teaching is continuing in most schools, and several school boards have even eliminated the requirement to wear masks in response to vocal groups of parents who prefer to avoid the inconvenience of the pandemic precautions and want procedures to return to “normal” regardless of medical realities and in the face of an unprecedented skyrocketing of the above COVID-19 metrics.
On April 5, 2021, the CDC issued a “Science Brief” outlining that, in addition to people becoming infected through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects, the principal mode by which people are infected with COVID-19 is through exposure to respiratory droplets carrying infectious virus.
- Small Group Meetings (Sunday School, AA, other meetings):
The current guidance on when and how gatherings can take place is based upon the threshold of infection rate.
For Indoor meetings/Sunday School to resume, the 7-day average of daily cases for gatherings that include unvaccinated folks should be:
- 1.5-2.0 – for everyone except those at high risk; and
- Less than 1.0 for those at high risk.
- Our current level is 170.7, so resuming small group meetings will not be feasible for the foreseeable future.
As the pandemic continues, we are continuing our efforts to:
Disinfect Central Church prior to every worship service and feeding ministry event using EPA-registered products in compliance with CDC standards to kill germs and reduce the risk of spreading infection, and in compliance with EPA criteria for use against SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19; and
As our community COVID-19 levels continue to deteriorate, we have significantly expanded our new medical-grade HEPA-13 air filtration equipment in our Sanctuary, which is rated to remove COVID-19 from the air, which now provides 10.7 complete air changes every hour in our Sanctuary (every 6 minutes)!
In addition, our Parlor, Church Office, Pastor’s Office, UMYF Meeting Room, Fellowship Hall, and Nursery all offer even higher levels of air changes per hour using HEPA-13 or HEPA-14 filtration.
(5 air changes per hour is the EPA’s general recommended standard, and the EPA now recommends 8-15 air changes per hour in Churches. )