LA county Health Department Statement on Worshipping Safely During Holiday Season

As we enter this holiday season after a most difficult year, people are longing for a return to normalcy.  This need is most keenly seen in the want of people to attend church or religious services in-person indoors as they have always done.  Public Health recognizes this sincere desire.

Now, most unfortunately, is not the time to attend indoor religious services.  The County of Los Angeles is in the midst of its highest surge of COVID-19 cases.  The local emergency rooms and hospitals are over-capacity.  And there are no indications of an end in sight to the current surge.

Attending an indoor service will result in transmission of COVID-19 and additional hospitalizations that the healthcare system cannot handle at this time.  The reason is that there is significant amount of community transmission throughout the County.  The required modifications help to reduce the risk, but do not eliminate it. People can spread COVID-19 before they get symptoms or even if they never have symptoms, especially in indoor spaces where circumstances (e.g. shouting, loud talking, singing) increase the concentration of suspended small droplets and particles carrying infectious virus.

Approximately 14,000 of the County’s residents are testing positive for COVID-19 every day and almost 1 in 5 people tested are positive for the virus. Hospitals are currently admitting 1,000 new COVID-19 positive patients each day, and there is almost no available capacity at the Intensive Care Units across the County.

No matter what a Superior Court judge says and given what’s happening now, it is simply too risky to gather indoors with other people who do not live with you.  Public Health urges you to continue to more safely worship as you have during the pandemic by attending remotely via streaming service or at outdoor services only.