As you may have heard, the first case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in Westchester County. Today we participated in several calls with Westchester County Executive George Latimer and County and State health directors. One such call was specifically directed to Jewish institutions in Westchester. In addition, we continue to track guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health, and the Westchester County Health Department. The health and safety of our community remains of utmost importance.
Here is what we know:
A New Rochelle resident has tested positive for COVID-19. He is a member of Young Israel of New Rochelle and attended services on February 22, and a funeral and a bat mitzvah at the shul on February 23. Anyone who was at those services or events must self-quarantine until at least March 8.
One of the children of the New Rochelle man is a student at SAR High School. As a precautionary measure and because of the overlapping communities, SAR Academy, Westchester Day School and the Westchester Torah Academy voluntarily suspended classes for the day and may do so tomorrow as well. All of the schools are working with the appropriate health officials.
We have been told by State and County health officials that there is no reason we need to or should close our school or synagogue, or cancel any of our programming. Unless you were at the February 22 or 23 services and events at Young Israel there is no need to quarantine yourself either. While each organization and synagogue will continue to monitor, communicate, and act in accordance with their own protocols, we want to assure you that we are continuing to look closely at our own Kol Ami protocols daily as information unfolds.
What we can do:
At Kol Ami, Purell dispensers will be installed this week by the school entrance, main sanctuary entrance, Chapel entrance, and gym. If you aren’t feeling well, please stay home. If you are unable to attend or are concerned about attending large gatherings during this time, we remind you to take full advantage of our live streaming for Friday night worship by going to www.nykolami.org and clicking on “Live Services” in the upper right hand corner or by clicking here
The Westchester County Department of Health has encouraged everyone to continue to practice general CDC recommended flu prevention measures and specifically recommended the following:
Stay informed, calm and don’t be unduly alarmed
Practice frequent and meticulous hand washing – a least 20 seconds with soap and warm water including between your fingers and on the back of your hands. Use an alcohol based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
Stay home if you are feeling sick (call your doctor to provide your symptoms and travel history)
Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Sneeze into a tissue and then throw away the tissue. If no tissue is available, sneeze into your sleeve.
- Clean with non-“green” products (i.e. bleach-based)
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
- Get your flu shot. It is easier for doctors to diagnose a patient if they have already had a flu shot.
Thank you for partnering with us and prioritizing the health and well-being of our sacred community. We will continue to provide updates as events unfold and as we receive additional information to share with you.