COVID-19 Integrated County View:
Here are the weekly COVID-19 statistics for Beaver County, PA as of January 27, 2023, showing Beaver County continuing in the HIGH category.
- The Incidence Rate decreased from 68.9 to 49.4 (a decrease of 19.5 , or 28.3%), in the MODERATE category.
- The PCR Positivity Rate decreased from 17.7 to 16.1 in the SUBSTANTIAL category.
(Allegheny County’s figures continued in the HIGH category during the past week, at 61.9 and 14.2%.)
The new “COVID-19 COMMUNITY LEVEL” index:
Starting on March 3, 2022, for hospitals and healthcare systems, the CDC is also issuing a new “COVID-19 Community Level“ index that measures the “current potential for strain on the health system” (in other words, the ability of hospitals to take in and treat additional folks with COVID-19.)
This new index is in addition to the CDC’s “COVID-19 Integrated County View” which they continue to publish each week.
The CDC currently reports that current “COVID-19 Community Level” moved into the LOW category. This metric was adopted on March 3, 2022, reflecting on the potential availability of hospital beds for new COVID-19 cases.
The “Triple Threat”:
Recently, health officials have begun referring to the combination of RSV, COVID-19 and flu as a “triple threat” because they are all circulating simultaneously — and could all fuel a spike in respiratory illnesses in the coming months.
Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a respiratory virus that usually causes cold-like symptoms, including a runny nose, poor appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever and wheezing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
The virus can spread via coughs, sneezes, surfaces and direct contact, according to the CDC. Most people who get infected experience mild symptoms and recover within a week or two, but the virus can be serious, especially for infants and older adults.
- At Central Church, in order to look out for our older folks, as well as the unvaccinated or immunocompromised, we are continuing to look to the CDC’s“COVID-19 Integrated County View” to evaluate which protective measures and protocols that we should observe to protect all of the folks who come through our doors for in-person worship or for other reasons, such as to participate in our community feeding ministry outreach.
- 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 7.0, so resuming small group meetings may not be feasible for the immediate 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
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. )
Active Air Filtering Measurement at Central Church
Here is some good news!
In order to continuously monitor how effectively our air filters are scrubbing the Sanctuary air for us, our Trustees have added an active air filter meter in our Sanctuary.
The actual COVID-19 virus measures about 1.5 microns in size, but it usually hitchhikes on air-borne droplets exhaled from infected humans to spread throughout a room. The size of those droplets (classified as fine particulates) is 2.5 microns, so we are measuring for that level of particulates.
Our Sanctuary is disinfected prior to every worship service, so any particulates that are floating around are mainly routine dust and pollen. (The Medify air filtration equipment that we have in place are rated to remove air-borne contaminants down to 1 micron.)
- During our Sunday in-person worship services, when the air filters are in full use, the Sanctuary air readings hover between zero and 1, except for when we were singing hymns, when it briefly increased a few points before resuming its steady decrease down to 1 ppm, so our air filters are definitely doing their job of effectively scrubbing our air!
- Since our objective is to reduce any air-borne COVID-19 virus (or cold or flu viruses) exhaled by an infected person during a worship service, we are protecting our folks as best we can.
Our thanks to our dedicated Trustees for tirelessly working during the COVID-19 pandemic to help protect anyone who comes through our doors.