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COVID safety precautions ahead of Easter Sunday

The holiday is coming at a time when COVID numbers are rising in Connecticut.

HARTFORD, Conn. — COVID is still upon us as Connecticut residents observe Holy Week.

Connecticut residents took to the pews with masks for prayer ahead of Holy Thursday mass at Our Lady of Fatima Church, serving the Portuguese Catholic community in Hartford.

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This is one of several days during Holy Week leading up to Easter Sunday. The church also has services set for Friday and Saturday as well.

"Up to now, we are very joyful we are able to come back to reunite and the restrictions have been lifted but we keep being cautious," said Father António Jorge Tchingui with Our Lady of Fatima Church.

The church is offering individual communion, but no wine at this time as a COVID safety precaution. Father Jorge said there are no capacity limits but it's not as full as pre-pandemic, as some people still want to stay home at this time.

The option to wear a mask is left up to parishioners.

"It's an individual choice to wear a mask or not to, but we strongly encourage it. Ultimately, everyone has to make the best decision for themselves," Teresa Duarte from Rocky Hill said.

This ease in restrictions comes around the time when Passover and Ramadan are also being observed.

Whether you're planning on attending a faith-based gathering or having a celebration at home, there are some COVID precautions to keep in mind.

"Whether you're vaccinated or not, we know that you can still get COVID, and we do know that the vaccines help keep you out of the hospital and help to keep you only having mild disease, but you can still spread it," Liany E. Arroyo, Hartford Director of Health, said. "If you're sick stay home and if you really want to be part of that gathering, get tested."

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Arroyo also said if it's possible, have your gathering outside, or open a window for added ventilation.

"COVID is still here, it looks like it's going to be here with us for a long time but we have the tools that we need, so if you haven't gotten vaccinated, it's never too late to start your vaccination series," she said.

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She also said if you have higher-risk family members, you might consider requiring guests to be fully vaccinated and boosted or get tested before coming to your gathering.

Ultimately, she said if you feel more comfortable, wear a mask.

Elisha Machado is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at emachado@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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