Dear St. Cecilia Parents
This afternoon, parish and school directors met with members from Harris County Health Department and the Archdiocese of Galveston Houston. A very thorough discussion took place with the health department epidemiologists regarding the parishioner who attended Mass at 5:30PM on Ash Wednesday. It is believed that the individual most likely sat in the bench along the back wall of the church just to the left of the baptismal font when facing the altar.
Through Harris County Health Department’s investigation, it was confirmed that the individual was asymptomatic at the time of their attendance at the Mass on February 26th. After review of our church and conversations with the individual, the Harris County Health Department has determined there is a very low risk of transmission of the COVID-19 to most of the members of our community.
The determination is based on the following facts:
- The COVID-19 is spread only through direct contact – large droplets from person to person.
- The COVID-19 is not believed to live on surfaces for an extended period of time.
- CDC defines a low risk of exposure to individuals who have had brief interaction (1-2 minutes) with those confirmed to have COVID-19. This would include the distribution of ashes for Ash Wednesday and Holy Communion in the hand.
- The church has been thoroughly cleaned multiple times since the individual was here for the Mass.
- At this time the county has no evidence of “community spread” of COVID-19 – the individuals testing positive for COVID-19 are being actively monitored and all contracted their symptoms through international travel.
There is no recommendation by the Harris County Health Department to cancel Masses, school, or any other programming or scheduled events on campus. The suggestion from the health department is to continue non-pharmaceutical interventions such as washing hands, staying at home if you feel sick and keeping sick children at home.
Because of our close communication with the county health department, and the ongoing thorough investigation, any further information regarding this situation will come from the parish and school directly. Please do not rely on other published media stories and/or speculation or conjecture. Please be assured the health, safety, and wellbeing of all of the members of our community are what is most important to the leadership of the church and school.
The Harris County Health Department has thanked St. Cecilia Catholic Church and School leadership and its parishioners for their engagement and support during this investigation.
Please view this link from the Harris County Health Department regarding their investigation – https://publichealth.harriscountytx.gov/Resources/2019-Novel-Coronavirus
Scroll to the section titled “St. Cecilia Church Update and Information”