New Mask Optional Protocol

 April 22, 2022

Linn and Johnson Counties are currently experiencing low COVID-19 transmission rates. Following the lead of other Unity Centers in our geographical region with health protocols similar to UCR, masks will become optional in our building as of Sunday, April 24th. This is also in alignment with CDC guidelines for indoor events. We know that each person will make a personal choice with some continuing to wear masks while others will not.  We ask the following:
  • Continue to wear a mask when you are in close proximity to someone who is masked, or if you are asked to wear one.  Be gracious!
  • If you are not fully vaccinated (vaccination + booster), please wear a mask.
  • All Youth and Family Ministry volunteers must continue to mask when working with the children.
  • If the transmission rate rises again, we ask for your patience and flexibillity as we promptly return to required masking.
  • Two areas of the Sanctuary will be set aside for those who are more comfortable with masks –the Chapel and the group of chairs by the east wall.  If you are not masked, please sit elsewhere. Of course, those who prefer masks may sit anywhere they wish.
  • We ask for your prayers as the leadership continues to monitor and navigate this present season.
  • CDC Covid-19 Levels by County

 Healing is rarely a straight line, and this is just a momentary experience that allows us to continue to gather as a congregation.  All shall be well, for all is well in God.

Use the tool below to check Linn County, Iowa’s Covid Community Level

COVID-19 Communication Protocol

1/19/2022

This guidance is based on information and recommendations from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local Public Health Departments.  The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to congregants, outlining the process/es to follow if another congregant is diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19 or if he/she begins to experience COVID like symptoms.

Communication Process: 

As we navigate his present season, we ask the following:

  • If you test positive for COVID-19 and recently attended Sunday services or events at UCR fewer than 10 days from the positive test or the onset of symptoms, please contact the minister at (319) 393-5422 or minister@unitycr.org.
  • You will be asked to provide the context of your presence at the Center (e.g. class, recovery group, meeting, Sunday service, etc.) to ensure that appropriate mitigation procedures take place.  
  • The minister will immediately communicate the possibility of exposure to the congregation and/or necessary groups via email and/or written communication.  
  • Confidentiality and privacy will be strictly maintained.    

Specific guidance established by Unity Center of Cedar Rapids: 

  • Masks are required for everyone 2 years and older at all times.
  • With 1-2 cases, the center will close or the group will pause for 1 week to allow for thorough cleaning and mitigation.       
  • With 3 or more cases, the center will close and return to online services only (depending on the context of the cases) until the community transmission recedes. 
  • With rising cases among children, YFM programming will be paused temporarily.

Continue to Practice the 3 W’s of COVID Mitigation:

  • Wear your mask 
  • Watch your distance (6 ft. or more)
  • Wash your hands (with soap and water or hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol based)

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. 

Symptoms of COVID include:  

New loss of smell or taste, fatigue, fever of 100.4 or more and/or chills, new persistent cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, headaches, sore throat, congestion or runny nose unrelated to usual allergies, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.  

Quarantine vs. Isolation

  • You quarantine when you might have been exposed to the virus and may or may not have been infected.
  • You isolate when you are sick or when you have been infected with the virus, even if you don’t have symptoms. 

Who should quarantine

If you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19, you should quarantine if you are in one of the following groups. Close contact is defined as being around someone who is infected (lab confirmed or clinical diagnosis) less than 6 ft. for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period.

  • You are ages 18 or older and completed the primary series of recommended vaccine, but have not received a recommended booster shot when eligible.
  • You received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine (completing the primary series) over 2 months ago and have not received a recommended booster shot.
  • You are not vaccinated or have not completed a primary vaccine series.

Who does not need to quarantine

If you came into close contact with someone with COVID-19 and you are in one of the following groups, you do not need to quarantine.  Close contact is defined as being around someone who is infected (lab confirmed or clinical diagnosis) less than 6 ft. for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period. 

You should wear a well-fitting mask around others at all times. Get tested at least 5 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19. The date of last close contact is considered day 0. If you test positive or develop COVID-19 symptoms, isolate from other people and follow recommendations in the Isolation section below.

If you tested positive for COVID-19 with a viral test within the previous 90 days and subsequently recovered and remain without COVID-19 symptoms, you do not need to quarantine or get tested after close contact. You should wear a well-fitting mask at all times around others.

 

What to do for quarantine

  • Stay home and away from other people for at least 5 days (day 0 through day 5) after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. The date of your exposure is considered day 0. Wear a well-fitting mask when around others at home, if possible.
  • For 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19, watch for fever (100.4◦F or greater), cough, shortness of breath, or other COVID-19 symptoms .
  • If you develop symptoms, get tested immediately and isolate until you receive your test results. If you test positive, follow isolation recommendations.
  • If you do not develop symptoms, get tested at least 5 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • If you test negative, you can leave your home, but continue to wear a well-fitting mask when around others at home and in public until 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • If you test positive, you should isolate for at least 5 days from the date of your positive test (if you do not have symptoms). If you do develop COVID-19 symptoms, isolate for at least 5 days from the date your symptoms began (the date the symptoms started is day 0). Follow recommendations in the isolation section below.
  • If you are unable to get a test 5 days after last close contact with someone with COVID-19, you can leave your home after day 5 if you have been without COVID-19 symptoms throughout the 5-day period. Wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days after your date of last close contact when around others at home and in public.
  • Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings, until after at least 10 days.
  • If possible, stay away from people you live with, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19, as well as others outside your home throughout the full 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • If you are unable to quarantine, you should wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days when around others at home and in public.
  • If you are unable to wear a mask when around others, you should continue to quarantine for 10 days. Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings, until after at least 10 days.
  • Do not travel during your 5-day quarantine period. Get tested at least 5 days after your last close contact and make sure your test result is negative and you remain without symptoms before traveling. If you don’t get tested, delay travel until 10 days after your last close contact with a person with COVID-19. If you must travel before the 10 days are completed, wear a well-fitting mask when you are around others for the entire duration of travel during the 10 days. If you are unable to wear a mask, you should not travel during the 10 days.
  • Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask, such as restaurants and some gyms, and avoid eating around others at home and at work until after 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.

After quarantine

  • Watch for symptoms until 10 days after exposure.
  • If you have symptoms, immediately self-isolate and contact your local public health authority or healthcare provider.

Isolation

Isolation is used to separate people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 from those without COVID-19. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. At home, anyone sick or infected should separate from others, or wear a well-fitting mask when they need to be around others. People in isolation should stay in a specific “sick room” or area and use a separate bathroom if available. Everyone who has presumed or confirmed COVID-19 should stay home and isolate from other people for at least 5 full days (day 0 is the first day of symptoms or the date of the day of the positive viral test for asymptomatic persons). They should wear a mask when around others at home and in public for an additional 5 days. People who are confirmed to have COVID-19 or are showing symptoms of COVID-19 need to isolate regardless of their vaccination status. This includes:

  • People who have a positive viral test for COVID-19, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms.
  • People with symptoms of COVID-19, including people who are awaiting test results or have not been tested. People with symptoms should isolate even if they do not know if they have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19.

 

What to do for isolation

  • Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.
  • Stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible.
  • Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Take steps to improve ventilation at home, if possible.
  • Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets.
  • Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask when you need to be around other people.

Learn more about what to do if you are sick and how to notify your contacts

Ending isolation for people who had COVID-19 and had symptoms

If you had COVID-19 and had symptoms, isolate for at least 5 days. To calculate your 5-day isolation period, day 0 is your first day of symptoms. Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed. You can leave isolation after 5 full days.

  • You can end isolation after 5 full days if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved (Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation ).
  • You should continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public for 5 additional days (day 6 through day 10) after the end of your 5-day isolation period. If you are unable to wear a mask when around others, you should continue to isolate for a full 10 days. Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings, until after at least 10 days.
  • If you continue to have fever or your other symptoms have not improved after 5 days of isolation, you should wait to end your isolation until you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved. Continue to wear a well-fitting mask. Contact your healthcare provider if you have questions.
  • Do not travel during your 5-day isolation period. After you end isolation, avoid travel until a full 10 days after your first day of symptoms. If you must travel on days 6-10, wear a well-fitting mask when you are around others for the entire duration of travel. If you are unable to wear a mask, you should not travel during the 10 days.
  • Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask, such as restaurants and some gyms, and avoid eating around others at home and at work until a full 10 days after your first day of symptoms.

If an individual has access to a test and wants to test, the best approach is to use an antigen test1 towards the end of the 5-day isolation period. Collect the test sample only if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved (loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation). If your test result is positive, you should continue to isolate until day 10. If your 

test result is negative,  you can end isolation, but continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public until day 10. Follow additional recommendations for masking and restricting travel as described above.

1As noted in the labeling for authorized over-the counter antigen testsexternal iconexternal icon: Negative results should be treated as presumptive. Negative results do not rule out SARS-CoV-2 infection and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or patient management decisions, including infection control decisions. To improve results, antigen tests should be used twice over a three-day period with at least 24 hours and no more than 48 hours between tests.

Note that these recommendations on ending isolation do not apply to people with severe COVID-19 or with weakened immune systems (immunocompromised). See section below for recommendations for when to end isolation for these groups.

 

Ending isolation for people who tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms

If you test positive for COVID-19 and never develop symptoms, isolate for at least 5 days. Day 0 is the day of your positive viral test (based on the date you were tested) and day 1 is the first full day after the specimen was collected for your positive test. You can leave isolation after 5 full days.

  • If you continue to have no symptoms, you can end isolation after at least 5 days.
  • You should continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public until day 10 (day 6 through day 10). If you are unable to wear a mask when around others, you should continue to isolate for 10 days. Avoid people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, and nursing homes and other high-risk settings, until after at least 10 days.
  • If you develop symptoms after testing positive, your 5-day isolation period should start over. Day 0 is your first day of symptoms. Follow the recommendations above for ending isolation for people who had COVID-19 and had symptoms.
  • Do not travel during your 5-day isolation period. After you end isolation, avoid travel until 10 days after the day of your positive test. If you must travel on days 6-10, wear a well-fitting mask when you are around others for the entire duration of travel. If you are unable to wear a mask, you should not travel during the 10 days after your positive test.
  • Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask, such as restaurants and some gyms, and avoid eating around others at home and at work until 10 days after the day of your positive test.

If an individual has access to a test and wants to test, the best approach is to use an antigen test1 towards the end of the 5-day isolation period. If your test result is positive, you should continue to isolate until day 10. If your test result is negative, you can end isolation, but continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public until day 10. Follow additional recommendations for masking and restricting travel described above.

1As noted in the labeling for authorized over-the counter antigen testsexternal iconexternal icon: Negative results should be treated as presumptive. Negative results do not rule out SARS-CoV-2 infection and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or patient management decisions, including infection control decisions. To improve results, antigen tests should be used twice over a three-day period with at least 24 hours and no more than 48 hours between tests.

 

Ending isolation for people who were severely ill with COVID-19 or have a weakened immune system (immunocompromised)

People who are severely ill with COVID-19 (including those who were hospitalized or required intensive care or ventilation support) and people with compromised immune systems might need to isolate at home longer. They may also require testing with a viral test to determine when they can be around others. CDC recommends an isolation period of at least 10 and up to 20 days for people who were severely ill with COVID-19 and for people with weakened immune systems. Consult with your healthcare provider about when you can resume being around other people.

 

People who are immunocompromised should talk to their healthcare provider about the potential for reduced immune responses to COVID-19 vaccines and the need to continue to follow current prevention measures  (including wearing a well-fitting mask, staying 6 feet apart from others they don’t live with, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces) to protect themselves against COVID-19 until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider. Close contacts of immunocompromised people – including household members – should also be encouraged to receive all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses to help protect these people.

COVID-19 Communication Process

1/12/2022

 As we navigate his present season, we ask the following:

  •  If you test positive for COVID-19 and recently attended Sunday services or events at UCR fewer than 10 days from the positive test or the onset of symptoms, please contact the minister at (319) 393-5422 or minister@unitycr.org.
  • You will be asked to provide the context of your presence at the Center (e.g. class, recovery group, meeting, Sunday service, etc.) to ensure that appropriate mitigation procedures take place.  
  • The minister will immediately communicate the possibility of exposure to the congregation and/or necessary groups via email and/or written communication.
  • Confidentiality and privacy will be strictly maintained.

Masks Required

August 1, 2021

  • Masks are required for ALL (including children and the fully vaccinated) who attend in-person services, classes, and events at UCR. Disposable masks are available at all entrances and in the main rooms.
  • Those on the platform may remove their masks when speaking if they remain on the platform.
  • We will sing with masks, and our soloists and musicians will be placed well away from the congregation.
  • Please use your best judgment regarding physical contact.
  • Given that the Sunday services are not full, there is plenty of room for people to spread out. This is encouraged.
  • Brunches are postponed for now.  Coffee will be available before and after services. However, we ask you to enjoy it outside if the weather is agreeable or spread out throughout the building.

The Rationale for the Decision:

According to the CDC, Linn County now has HIGH community transmission which falls under the guidelines for mask wearing for all indoor gatherings for the unvaccinated and fully vaccinated.

  • The test positivity rate in Linn County is currently 7.4% and there are 7.75 cases per 100,000 of the population.  These numbers are well above those used as the criteria for regathering inside the building.
  •  According to a recent survey, our congregation has a vaccination rate of 97% which supports masking rather than returning to online services only.
  • This decision was made by the minister and the board in keeping with their duty of care to the congregation and the center, as well as a commitment to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Other Considerations:
The Delta variant of COVID-19 is spreading quickly in areas where vaccination rates are low. This now includes Iowa, and specifically Linn County.  While the Corridor Region has the highest rates of vaccination in the state, Linn County (3rd in the state) still falls short of the rate necessary to quell community transmission.  Currently, the vaccination rate has stalled at about 54% of the total population.  The rate for those age 12+ is 63.8%.  What appears to be driving the increase in cases is the number of unvaccinated in Linn and surrounding counties. Additionally, new data indicates that vaccinated individuals can transmit the virus to others given the larger viral load of the Delta variant.  While breakthrough cases and serious illness are rare among the fully vaccinated, a vaccinated person can still transmit the virus to an unvaccinated person, an immunocompromised person, or a child. Thankfully, hospitalization rates currently remain low.

We have communicated to the congregation a desire to remain as unrestrictive as possible, while also stating our intention to monitor credible data about community transmission rates.  We see this as a temporary measure that will be lifted as soon as vaccination rates rise in the state.

%d bloggers like this: