The Covid Task Force of the Diocese of Fond du Lac released "Protocols and Best Practices" as guidance for congregations for in-person worship. The guidelines limit the number of participants to 10 with additional directions for reducing the risk of transmission to provide the safest worship environment we are able to. These include social distancing, face coverings, use of hand sanitizer, and one-way traffic to name a few. Some congregations have started in-person worship, many have chosen to wait, and some are still considering the course of action they wish to take.
When the number of new cases of Covid-19 in the State of Wisconsin trends down over a two-week period, the Task Force will determine if the number of persons for in-person activities will increase.
Why two weeks? Many factors impact trends, but based on past numbers, it appears two weeks is a long enough window to see a trend as compared to day to day variations.
Why Wisconsin (and not counties)? More data results in better reliability. County by county numbers can be helpful for determining hot spots, but not as reliable in determining trends. There are limitations for trend determination from population size and that people don't limit travel and interactions to those only from one county.
This criteria of a two-week trend does not mean we increase immediately. It means it is the point when the Task Force will examine the various factors to determine if moving is warranted. For example, if new cases doubled each week over 4 weeks followed by a slow decrease over 2 weeks, it is unlikely the limit would change because the total number of people with the virus would be much higher than it is today. Another example: if the rate declined over 2 weeks, but the death rate and hospitalization rate increased, these increased might lead the Task Force to decide not to change the 10 person limitation.
The Task Force recognizes there is a desire to worship in-person. It also recognizes doing so should not create unnecessary risk to the health and well-being of those worshipers. Please be assured that members of the Task Force consider these factors as it continues to deliberate the best course of action for the congregations of the Diocese of Fond du Lac.