What if I was sitting near someone who tested positive for COVID?
Because of the contagious nature of the Delta variant, our community is witnessing an increased number of positive cases of COVID-19 among both the fully vaccinated and unvaccinated. Wilshire is no exception to this. With the hope of creating an open and transparent environment and maintaining the wellbeing and safety of those who choose to participate in Wilshire events, we wanted to communicate with you a process we are developing for contact tracing. This process has evolved based on previous experiences and we hope that it provides more clarity than our previous attempts.
If a Wilshire staff member becomes aware of a positive case and the individual has been present at any Wilshire sponsored activity, we will engage the following process:
• We will work with the individual and lay leadership to gather needed information and identify who needs to be notified.
• Our hope is to protect the privacy of any given individual.
• Notifications will be sent both generally and specifically. For example, if there is a positive case identified in a Sunday School class, we feel it best to send out a general email to all those in attendance on that day as well as to those who were in close contact to the individual. Close contact is defined as being within six feet of the infected person for 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period. That could be five minutes three different times for a total of 15 minutes.
• For worship services, we will, to the best of our ability, identify those within six feet of the individual and notify those individuals only. Because registration is not required for worship services, sending a general email is a bit more complicated as we do not keep attendance records.
If you receive a notification, the recommendations regarding exposure from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are:
• If you are fully vaccinated and have come into close contact with someone who has been diagnosed or tested positive for COVID-19, it is recommended that you be tested three to five days after exposure and to wear a mask in public indoor places for 14 days or until the person receives a negative test result. Those who are fully vaccinated or who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last three months do not need to quarantine.
• Others who have been in close contact may need to quarantine until they have a negative test result.
Correct and consistent mask use and full vaccination are the best ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
There are numerous sites for testing in the community including CVS, Walgreens, emergency care centers and urgent care centers such as CareNow. The Texas Division of Emergency Management and MCI Diagnostic Center is opening a site for free tests at 9728 Greenville Ave. in Dallas starting Monday, August 16. It will be open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. until January 31, 2022.
Linda Garner is Wilshire’s parish nurse and a COVID-19 Advisory Task Force member. She can be reached at email@example.com or 214-452-3151.