October 2, 2020
Dear Friends and Members,
I hope you are doing well and finding ways to thrive in this time of pandemic.
I want to communicate to you the resources, the links, and the process we use as we think about reopening the preschool and resume in-person gatherings at Shadow Rock. Our resources are John Hopkins University (JHU), Covid Act Now, Rt Live, and Maricopa County Health Department. We are being as precise and as simple as possible to balance our desire to serve our community and prioritize everyone’s safety. We realize this is a lot of technical information and want you to understand everything we are taking into consideration to make these decisions.
The sources we use are listed below.
The two determining factors for making decisions for reopening and their definitions with links are listed below.
TWO FACTORS FOR DETERMINING IN-PERSON GATHERING DECISION
#1 Rt Factor below 1
Definition: The basic reproduction number (Rt), pronounced “R naught”, is the basic reproduction number (reproduction number can be conveyed as Rt, Ro, R#). For consistency, Shadow Rock will denote this factor as Rt in our communications. Rt is the basic reproduction ratio, or rate, or the basic reproductive rate, and is an epidemiologic metric used to describe the contagiousness of transmissibility of infectious agents. Source for definition is, https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/25/1/17-1901_article
- Shadow Rock will use the sources above to track the infection rate numbers.
- Shadow Rock will not resume in-person gatherings if the Rt number is 1 or above.
- Shadow Rock will end in-person gatherings if the Rt number is 1 or above.
- Resumption of in-person gatherings will happen only after a two week consistent infection rate of .9 or less. All three Rt source numbers are considered and will not be averaged. More weight will be given to the Maricopa County number.
FLOW CHART FOR Rt FACTOR
Source: RtLive CovidActNow CovidActNow
Region: Arizona Arizona Maricopa County Status
Sep. 24 0.94 1.30 0.98 Go
October 1 1.04 0.94 0.89 Go
#2 Positivity Rate below 5%
Definition: COVID-19 test positivity rate is the percentage of tests that come back positive out of the total number of tests given. Positivity rate is important in analyzing COVID-19 data because it shows the proportion of people who got tested who have the disease. Two states can have the same number of reported cases, but if one is doing double the testing, its outbreak is probably much less serious — positivity rate lets you compare between the two. On May 12, 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) advised governments that before reopening, rates of positivity in testing (ie, out of all tests conducted, how many came back positive for COVID-19) should remain at 5% or lower for at least 14 days. Source for definition is, https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/testing/testing-positivity
(JHU is John Hopkins University)
- Shadow Rock will use the sources above to track the positivity numbers.
- Shadow Rock will not resume in-person gatherings if the positivity rate is 5% or above.
- Shadow Rock will end in-person gatherings if the positivity rate is 4.995% or above.
- Resumption of in person gatherings will happen only after a two week consistent positivity rate of 4.995% or less. All three source testing positivity numbers are considered and are not averaged. More weight will be given to the Maricopa County number.
FLOW CHART FOR TESTING POSITIVITY PERCENTAGE
Source: JHU CovidActNow Maricopa County
Region: Arizona Arizona WESD Data Status
Sep. 24 6.60 6.60 4.109 Go
October 1 6.20 6.20 5.108 No Go
The numbers from the various health and statistical experts help inform our decisions regarding how safe it is to resume in-person gatherings. Both the Rt and testing positivity factors must be below the thresholds for us to proceed with in-person gathers. We must draw lines and resist crossing the boundaries regardless how close the numbers may be. A single tenth of a point can make a very big difference.
Also, I want to acknowledge that we are using the same sources and factors for making decisions about resuming in-person gatherings for the preschool. However, the threshold number regarding testing positivity is different. The preschool threshold number is 5% because in-person gatherings are for 3 hours, indoors, and sharing some air circulation. For church in- person gatherings we are together for only about an hour (depending on how long Ken preaches) and we will have a mix of an indoor and outdoor gathering site with better air circulation. The church threshold is 7%.
The metrics give us a baseline for opening and closing in-person gatherings. This is helpful, but it is more complicated than the baseline factors for decision making. What we are experiencing as a community is a fluctuation back and forth over the baseline numbers. For a few days the numbers are good and then for a few days the numbers are bad. What we are looking for are trends and consistency that ensure the health of everyone. This is why the epidemiologists and public health professionals are putting 7 and 14 day timelines on the metrics. Good numbers for a period of time indicate consistent responsible and caring behavior in our community. This is our best protection. This will be our guide.
Church leadership will consult the websites listed above every Thursday morning and make a determination how to proceed. We apologize for the inconvenience of the potential of such abrupt decisions but we prioritize safety and consistency. Please feel free to consult the websites and help us to discern the trends and what we will be doing.
We are a community of care with hope for the future and strength to get there. Let us continue to work together and be patient every step of the way. Please contact me
and the staff if you have questions.