Precautions and Advice regarding COVID-19

Active cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide continue to cause understandable concern among the faithful here in the Archdiocese of Edmonton. We now know that Alberta has recorded its first cases of infection with the virus, including some in Edmonton.

Any response from the Archdiocese will be based on advice from provincial health officials. In her update of March 6, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, stated: "I want to remind Albertans that, despite this case, the risk of catching the virus is still considered low in our province.”

Coronaviruses are spread mainly from person to person through close contact; for example, in a household, workplace, health care centre, or parish. Influenza and other common viruses remain the most likely cause of a respiratory infection. To protect yourself and others:

If you are feeling sick, it is particularly important that you not visit loved ones in hospitals or long-term care facilities, as people in these locations are at the highest risk of complications from influenza and other respiratory viruses including COVID-19.

Information from the medical officer’s website (alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans) provides basic background on the coronavirus and practical advice for all organizations, including parishes.

Regarding liturgical practices, Archbishop Smith is not calling for restrictions at this time. Parishes are encouraged to use the above information to remind parishioners about the importance of practising healthy hygiene. In addition we invite you to note the following particular points:

Pastors should continue to use their discretion in deciding whether to offer Communion under both species.

Please continue to pray for all those impacted by the coronavirus. Be assured that we will continue to work with provincial health officials and keep you updated as appropriate.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Father Adam Lech at the Chancery Office.