Edmonton church avoids COVID-19 outbreak after presence of infected person at service


This is… perhaps one of the only times we ALL wanted to FAIL a test," said the Rev. Danielle Key, associate priest at Holy Trinity. Image: AnaKins27/Shutterstock

The associate priest of an Edmonton church says her church is grateful for having strictly followed COVID-19 protocols after a close brush with the disease.

On Oct. 19, someone who had been present during an in-person service the previous day at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Edmonton learned that they had tested positive for COVID-19, associate priest the Rev. Danielle Key wrote in an Oct. 27 update posted to the church’s Facebook page.

“No matter the setting it is scary to hear of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 having been in the same room as you—or worse, within close proximity to you,” she says.

The church followed the protocols not only of AHS but also those of the diocese and of its own corporation and vestry. This stringency reassured parishioners to the point where they were more concerned about the person who had tested positive and those who had to take COVID-19 tests than they were about the risks they faced, Key says.

The person contacted the church as soon as they found out they had tested positive. They also provided to AHS a complete account of where they had been and who they had been near, after which AHS contacted the church and investigated the person’s potential contacts there—speaking with people, going through the worship service step-by-step and asking questions about the configuration of the chancel and nave and other details pertinent to the service.

As per instructions given to the church by AHS, Key, the church’s musical director and five choristers all self-isolated for 14 days, and then got tested for COVID-19. The person who had tested positive also followed all AHS’s protocols. By Oct. 27, all the tests had come back negative.

“This is wonderful news and is perhaps one of the only times we ALL wanted to FAIL a test (though we are all still required to isolate until November 2nd),” Key wrote in her Facebook update.

AHS had advised the church, Key added, that no one besides these people were considered to have been in close contact with the person who tested positive, so that there was no need for the rest of the congregation to self-isolate.

“We would like to assure all of our parishioners and community that should a case ever involve our congregation needing to take precautions we would reach out immediately to keep all informed,” she wrote in her update. She also thanked everyone for following the church’s protocols, including wearing masks at all times, sanitizing their hands and keeping physically distant.

“AHS has stated that it is because of our advanced safety protocols and strict adherence to these rules that we were able to isolate this case of COVID-19 and avoid any spread within our community,” Key wrote.

She advises churches concerned about COVID-19 infections to plan well.

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Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.

One Response

  1. Hello, I am the Deacon at St. John’s church in Fort Qu’Appelle. For a while we did still have services in our church (with all required precautions) but decided it was not worth the risk, especially for our senior congregants.
    There have been 2 ways we have kept in contact with our congregation and members of our partner congregations.
    We have all been sent an email, each Sunday by the priest who normally comes out to do a Communion service for us. These emails contain some wonderful, Christian Hymns etc. sung by wonderful choirs. At the same time, I have tried to make sure everyone is told about the Biblical reading for the Sunday. I try to write a short reflection on the reading as well.
    Obviously, I am not able to be as eloquent as Rev. Dunfield! We all pray that this pandemic will end soon and that the vaccines will protect us in the meantime. Let us all pray for those who have been affected in one way or another.
    Rev. Susan Boxall.

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