Buffalo Catholic Diocese on coronavirus concerns: parishioners should follow 'flu season' protocol

Receiving communion
Posted at 2:58 PM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 15:01:28-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — In response to concerns over the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo is referring parishioners to a familiar protocol.

While there have been no confirmed coronavirus cases in Western New York, the diocese has advised congregations to follow the same guidelines it uses for flu prevention.

The "flu season" protocol adopted by the diocese includes the following recommendations:

  • Parishioners with active respiratory infections should not use the common communion cup. They can still receive the Sacred Host.
  • Parishioners with a cold or other contagious illness should stay home to avoid spreading their illness to others.
  • Rather than shaking hands during the Sign of Peace, anyone concerned about spreading an illness can "clasp your hands together and with a smile say 'Peace be with you.'"
  • If the spread of illness becomes severe, priests can temporarily refrain from distributing Holy Communion.
  • Parishioners should heed medical advice and avoid practices that might make them sick.

Read the full recommendations of the diocese here.