Place of worship works to stay safe as COVID-19 outbreak at church grows
KITCHENER -- As the COVID-19 outbreak at a church Chatam-Kent continues to grow, one place of worship in Waterloo Region is making sure something like that doesn’t happen to them.
More than 30 people associated with the Word of Life Church in Blenheim have tested positive for COVID-19 while hundreds of others are self-isolating.
The church initially posted to Facebook saying a family had tested positive and the pastor had been in close contact with them. This was when they decided to close the doors.
Afterwards, it was discovered an unknowingly infected member of the church donated blood at a clinic and infected a worker there.
A total of 19 of the 31 positive tests were in direct contact with the initial church cases.
In Cambridge, the Calvary Assembly says they are doing everything they can to make sure a super spreader even like the one in Blenheim doesn’t happen there.
Currently, Region of Waterloo regulations allow 30 per cent capacity and mandatory masks for those in attendance.
“It is I a lot of work, but we take this very seriously,” said Pastor Jeff Johnston. “We’ve found that with the social distancing measures it’s actually landed around 20-25 per cent of room capacity based on the size of the groups that are coming in.”
Safety measures for the church include every second row being closed off and members of the parish having to register for weekly service online.
“It also gives us a very specific contact tracing list to make sure in the case that something were to happen, which it hasn’t, we would be able to contact everybody who was in attendance on that specific day,” said Johnston.
“Once they’re registered or marked as present from the list, then we bring them into the room and the ushers basically take it from there to walk them through and help them find their reserved seat.”
Johnston adds that about 80 per cent of his parish stay at home and watch online.
Since the start of the pandemic, the congregation has purchased more cameras and upgraded technology in order to have members access online service.