COVID Information

The Seattle Betsuin is once again open for Sunday services, funerals, weddings, memorials and other special services! We welcome anyone who would like to attend on Sunday’s at 10:00am either in person or via the temple’s YouTube channel for our service livestreams.

 

Temple Protocols –

Masks are required within the temple facilities and vaccines/boosters are encouraged.

Memorials – Rev. Kusunoki will preside over the services in the onaijin. Volunteers will be on hand to greet the attendees and assist with any of the family’s needs.

No food or refreshments are to be consumed during/after services/events in the temple.

Sutra and gathas can be included in services.

 

Covid-19 Pandemic: What You Should Know About Wearing Masks
By Dr. Kari Palmer and Dr. Kemi Nakabayashi
updated 7/18/2022

Even for medical professionals, official recommendations during the Covid-19 pandemic have been ever changing and difficult to follow. Using the latest available information to protect our temple sangha is of utmost importance as we provide guidance to the Seattle Betsuin Renewal Committee. As of this writing, updated July 2022, King County is still considered a “Medium” level community for Covid-19 transmission by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) with the assignments used as a tool to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data of Covid-19 cases in the area. However, many more counties in Washington state, including Snohomish county, and across the United States are now at “High” community transmission risk.

If you or a family member are in a high risk category, especially if you have compromised immune system based on age and health conditions including medications you may be taking, the recommendation is to wear a mask of greater protection in public indoor spaces in areas of “High” community level of Covid-19 and to also consider precautions at the “Medium” level. For this reason, we continue to strongly recommend that we wear masks at our temple to protect our sangha. This infection is different from the common cold or influenza, in that people may be infected with Covid-19 and have no symptoms but can spread the infection. If you live with or have social contact with someone at high risk for severe illness, consider testing yourself for infection even if you have no symptoms before you get together with them and wear a mask when indoors with them. As a reminder, “high risk” includes adults age 65 or older
who are at the highest risk of getting sick from Covid-19 and also people with a history of cancer, diabetes, stroke, chronic heart, lung, kidney, or liver disease, just to name a few conditions. Pregnant women and current or former smokers are also considered high risk.

As for the masks themselves, the CDC recommends wearing a mask with the best fit, protection, and comfort for you. The mask should cover the nose and the mouth fully without any gaps around the edges or around the nose. For the more transmissible strains seen with the latest Omicron variants, cases have been reported in fully vaccinated individuals. Thus, even if you have had recent
recommended booster vaccinations, wearing appropriate masks or respirators remain important to reduce spread of Covid-19. Respirators are specialized filtering masks such as the N95 type. Loosely woven cloth masks provide the least protection. Well-fitting cloth masks with at least two layers offer more protection than not wearing a mask at all. Well-fitting surgical masks and K95 masks offer even better protection. Well-fitting N95 respirator masks provide the best protection. Thus, especially with the latest variant, when you are around high risk people or in crowded public-indoor places or indoors in
places without adequate ventilation, we recommend that you consider upgrading the mask you wear to K-95 or N-95 masks, rather than the simple cloth masks.

Disposable masks should be thrown away after they are used once. Carefully follow manufacturer’s instructions for removing and reusing K95 and N95 masks. Keeping a used mask in a paper bag between uses is an option. Washing your hands after carefully removing the mask is important. If you are taking your mask off to eat outside your home, you can keep it somewhere safe to keep it clean. After eating, put it back on with the same side facing out. Wash or sanitize your hands after taking your mask off and again before putting it back on after eating. Any mask that becomes wet or dirty should be thrown away in the trash right away.

The most protection from spreading Covid-19 infection is if everyone wears masks when gathering indoors. But even if you are the only one wearing a mask, the science still really shows that this affords more protection than not wearing one. We hope this summary is useful to better understand the current information to keep our sangha safe as we plan more in-person temple activities.
How to properly take off a mask:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/HowtoTakeOff.pdf