JCRC-NY Updates on Novel Coronavirus

All of our public officials urge all New Yorkers to stay at home as much as possible and to keep a safe distance of 6 feet from others in public spaces to reduce the spread of Coronavirus.

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Security/Emergency Information

COVID-19: What should you be doing?

Posted on March 20, 2020
image of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Click this graphic for the latest CDC updates.

Scroll below the updates for more information and resources.

Update: April 7, 2020

  • The community owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Chevra Kadisha’s everywhere (nasck.org), for their selfless, holy work. Here are their “Guidelines for Levayahs (funerals) and Cemeteries“, written to allow for the proper respect for the departed in keeping safe.
  • From our friends at the Human Services Council: Yesterday, the State of New York released guidance for contracted nonprofit human services providers. The guidance outlines performance requirements for funding during COVID-19.
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today Fun at Home, a free new digital platform to provide safe, fun, and entertaining virtual activities for New York City’s teens and young adults. This first-of-its-kind campaign combines city and community resources to engage teens who are at home during the COVID-19 crisis, and also provides tips to cope with the public and mental health challenges that may arise during this difficult time.
  • Celebrate Passover safely by following these #FDNYSmart tips
  •  Previously released data suggests that coronavirus death and infection rates are much higher in communities of color in New York City – reflecting national trends – given the rates of confirmed cases in neighborhoods with large black and Latino populations – an issue that was the subject of a Tuesday morning press conference by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. While New York state and California have not released death rates by race or ethnicity, data from Chicago shows that black people account for about 68% of the city’s deaths.
  • Last week the White House and the CDC released new recommendations for everyone to wear a face covering outside the home. While staying home is still preferred, wearing a cloth covering and keeping appropriate physical distance will help protect others—even if you are not currently symptomatic with COVID-19–on those limited occasions you do have to go out.

    The CDC has given very good information about how to make masks that are suitable, so that we can continue to reserve medical masks and PPE for healthcare workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Update: April 6, 2020

Update: April 5, 2020

Update: April 3, 2020

  • And now for something completely different. Enjoy this parody from the NY Gilbert and Sullivan Players, “I am the Very Model of Effective Social Distancing.”
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update
  • New studies show that pre-symptomatic people may spread the virus:
    • NYC is advising New Yorkers to wear face covering when outside and near people
    • Cover your mouth and nose in public
    • Use a scarf, bandana or a piece of clothing
    • DO NOT use a surgical and N95 masks —those are for health care workers and first responders!
  • NYC: I’ve been affected by Coronovirus (COVID-19). What benefits might I be eligible for?
  • Thank you @GovernorAndrewCuomo, @NewYorkStateSenate and @NewYorkStateAssembly for the inclusion of the #NoHateInOurState package in the NYS Budget. The package includes $25M for at-risk nonprofits, including houses of worship; the Josef Neumann Hate Crimes Domestic Terrorism Act (in memory of a victim of the Hanukkah attack in Monsey) and additional funding to support the NYS Police Hate Crimes Task Force. Each element of the package to counter hate directed at the Jews and others is an important component of our fight against hate.Through the enactment of this package, New York State’s leaders scored a trifecta.

Update: April 2, 2020

  • FEMA Daily Briefing Points: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Whole-of-America Response
  • NYPD is carrying out moment-by-moment analyses of Hate Crimes: At no time is hate and discrimination of any kind ever tolerated in New York City, but amid its ongoing Coronavirus response, the NYPD is reinforcing the importance of reporting all hate crimes and bias incidents. Since the outbreak, the Hate Crime Task Force has investigated 11 cases where all the victims were Asian and targeted due to discrimination based on the Coronavirus pandemic. To date, investigators have apprehended the wanted subjects in seven of these cases.
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Brief Apr 2, 2020
  • An message from Nassau County Executive Laura Curran to faith leaders ahead of the upcoming Easter and Passover holidays. See also Suffolkcountyny.gov/covid19.

Update: April 1, 2020

  • Census Day. Today is officially Census Day. Every household should have received a form in the mail, but you can also fill it out at the secure online site or by phone. Fill out the paper form that you received in the mail, call in to 1-800-923-8282 or use your code to fill it out online at my2020census.gov. Many Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods are “hard-to-count”. JCRC-NY is joining with local partners to advertise in media outlets that target these neighborhoods. Here’s a sample of our ad.
  • NYC Emergency Management COVID-19 Daily Brief April 1, 2020
  • Nonprofit New York Updates
  • NYPD Cybersecurity Brief, including Tips to Mitigate Against Phishing and Spear-Phishing Attacks, Basic Safeguards Against Ransomware, andCOVID-19 and Telephonic Cybersecurity: Vulnerabilities for Conference Calls.
  • Jewish Board webinars. The Jewish Board is offering two webinars in the next two days: Dealing with disruption: Strategies for thriving in the new normal and Helping Kids Cope with COVID-19. Click here for the details and registration.
  • Nonprofit New York’s COVID-19 Updates
  • Tech Resources for Nonprofits Impacted by COVID-19. TechSoup is committed to equipping nonprofits with the technology resources (including discounts on Zoom, etc.) needed to meet their mission, serve their community, and support their staff. Click here to learn more.
  • Stimulus scams. Congress has recently passed a large COVID-19 relief and stimulus package. As with other aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, fraudsters are exploiting the relief and stimulus to victimize the public. The U.S. Secret Service is observing a rise in stimulus relief fraud over the past several days and expect the fraud attempts to continue throughout the pandemic. See their bulletin here. 

Update: March 31, 2020

  • Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a new hospital network Central Coordinating Team that will help facilitate a more coordinated and strategic approach among the state’s healthcare system in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. The coordinating team will help implement the statewide public-private hospital plan, which the Governor announced yesterday, to share information, supplies, staff and patients among hospitals across the State. The team will be responsible for organizing upstate to downstate staffing; assisting Elmhurst Hospital and other stressed hospitals; setting patient thresholds for hospitals; organizing patient transfers to other hospitals and the USNS Comfort; coordinating State-City stockpiles and individual hospital stockpiles; and facilitating staffing recruitment.
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update
  • Today, 5,657 uniformed members of the NYPD were on sick report which accounts for 15.6% of the Department’s uniformed workforce.  Currently, 1,048 uniformed members and 145 civilian members tested positive for the Coronavirus.
  • NYC Dept. of Finance sells tax liens for unpaid property taxes, water bills, other charges. Because so many families need relief, NYC is postponing the sale to August (from May).
  • Check our Nassau County’s Coronavirus resources. Most Nassau County offices are closed. You can find how to reach them here. Get the Suffolk County updates by clicking here.
  • ADL: How to prevent Zoombombing. As large numbers of people turn to video-teleconferencing (VTC) platforms to stay connected in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, reports of VTC hijacking (also called “Zoom-bombing”) are emerging nationwide. The FBI has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language.

Update: March 27, 2020

  • UJA-Federation of New York briefing on the CARES Act
    Featuring experts from Jewish Federation of North America
    Sunday, March 29, 2020
    12:00PM-1:30PM

    Please join UJA-Federation for a virtual briefing with federal nonprofit policy experts Stephan Kline, Interim Executive Director, Jewish Federation of North America’s DC office and Steven Woolf, Senior Tax Policy Counsel, Jewish Federation of North America.

    This briefing will include an in-depth analysis of the federal legislation and there will be time to answer your questions about how agencies can apply for the various loans and other provisions available to the nonprofit community. Link to Register (Zoom information will be shared after registration) For more information, contact Margo Paz at PazM@ujafedny.org html bIf you are unable to participate, the program will be recorded.

  • The bill does not set aside funding for nonprofits, however, our communal institutions will be able to access $350 billion in new business continuity loans. These loans will be available for Jewish nonprofits, including: JCCs, synagogues, schools and others. The CARES Act also includes an above-the-line charitable tax deduction, resources to feed and house families and older adults, flexibility and new support for health care providers, and more. Here is JFNA’s one page summary of the provisions and you can find details here.
  • President issued a disaster declaration for New York (FEMA-4480-DR-NY) and certain nonprofits are eligible for FEMA public assistance which is administered through NYS DHSES (Private Non-Profit Eligibility Guidelines and RPA packet). This is a complicated process which is not intended to make up for loss of income. It will reimburse approved applicants for reasonable and necessary expenses for work directly related to the COVID-19 event. Some expenses such as the overtime costs necessary for disinfecting public spaces, hiring daycare workers to care for the children of medical workers and first responders (at the request of the city or state), emergency food services (at the request of the city or state), or the purchase of computers for students for distance learning may be eligible. Read the guidelines and submit questions to patricia.debboli@dhses.ny.gov.

Update: March 26, 2020

  • We are awaiting House passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Watch this space for more information on how nonprofits can access some of the benefits.
  • We can’t overstate the threat of cybercriminals taking advantage of the COVID threat (the latest allegedly from the Director-General of WHO urging people to click to a documents with treatments for COVID/click to schedule free testing). Responsibly click to NJCCIC’s security posts “Tips for Teleworkers, Remote Access Security” that provide telework program fundamentals, best practices for using remote access, and guidance on establishing device and home network security.
  • New York State’s income tax filing deadline is delayed until July 15, 2020. Because New York State requires electronic filing, the date for filing state personal income taxes automatically travels with the federal filing date, which is now July 15. Further guidelines will be released soon.
  • Arranging for mail pickup. What if your business is not essential, but a person must pick up the mail or perform a similar routine function each day? According to the NY State Essential Businesses FAQ‘s, ” A single person attending a non-essential closed business temporarily to perform a specific task is permitted so long as they will not be in contact with other people.”
  • NYC EM Private Sector COVID Update
  • Click to UJA-Federation’s Coronavirus Resources website for advice, learning opportunities and more.
  • And now for something completely different: Patrick Stewart is reading Shakespearean sonnets online. Make it so.

Update: March 25, 2020

  • As of 6:30PM, the American people still are waiting for a Congressional vote on the stimulus package. Some predict that the Senate will act tonight.
  • UJA’s $23M Aims to Assist Struggling Agencies
  • In NY, all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason are temporarily banned. New York State on PAUSE: 100% of the workforce must stay home, excluding essential services. Do your part and keep your distance. Stay at least 6 feet from others. Learn more at nyc.gov/coronavirus or call 311.
  • Please urge your representatives in the New York State Senate and Assembly to pass Governor Cuomo’s ‘No Hate in Our State’ package as-is to combat anti-Semitism and protect vulnerable communities from the scourge of hate and bigotry affecting our nation. To contact:
  • In a letter, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security and our own Rep. Max Rose, Chairman of its Subcommittee on Intelligence & Counterterrorism asked DHS, “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend American life in new and unpredictable ways, we seek an understanding of how DHS is preparing for and mitigating potential homeland security threats from bad actors, such as violent extremists in the United States and abroad, who may seek to exploit vulnerabilities stemming from this metastasizing crisis.” See the full letter here calling attention to many of the developments mentioned on this page.
  • Washington Post. Terrorism laws may apply if people intentionally spread coronavirus, Justice Dept. says

Update: March 24, 2020

  • New York’s case count is doubling every three days. In his daily briefing Governor Cuomo commented, “I’m not asking the federal government to help New York just to help New York — I’m asking for everyone. New York is the first — if we learn how to blunt the impact here and bend the curve here, we can help other states who are next. Let’s learn how to act as one nation.”
  • Dr. Deborah Birx, the national coronavirus response coordinator, recommended, “Everybody who was in New York should be self-quarantining for the next 14 days to ensure the virus doesn’t spread to others no matter where they have gone, whether it’s Florida, North Carolina or out to far reaches of Long Island. We’re starting to see new cases across Long Island that suggest people have left the city.”
  • Former Israeli leader and Prisoner-of-Conscience Natan Sharansky offered tips to survive quarantine based on his experience in the Gulag.  Tip 2: “In prison, I didn’t know when I will be released or if I will be released at all. Don’t build your future plans based on the hope that in the next few days, or the next few weeks, it all will be finished. It does not depend on you. [emphasis added] So try to build plans which fully depend on you.”
  • Alternate side parking (street cleaning) regulations are suspended tomorrow, March 25 through Tuesday, March 31, 2020.  Parking meters remain in effect.
  • Two days ago we called your attention to an FBI alert warning of extremist groups that are encouraging their members (online) to spread the novel coronavirus to police and Jewish people in New York. While the online presence is real, an Israeli media outlet published a report that there were such people “roaming the streets.” Neither JCRC-NY nor the NYPD has heard of any such incidents. Please do what you can to contain any such rumors.
  • NYC Emergency Management’s  Situational Awareness call will be tomorrow, March 25th from 1-2pm. A representative from NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will provide updates regarding COVID-19 as well as review guidance for businesses. The dial-in number is: (800) 832-0736 and the room number (access code) for all users is: 52451.
  • More guidance from our friends at the Israel Trauma Coalition who keep producing quality guidance: Advice for parents on dealing with corona virus abroad, Advice for community Rabbis, Covid-19 Psychosocial advice to patients, Remote therapeutic intervention, Psychosocial support for teams working with elderly abroad, Psychosocial support for medical teams abroad

Update: March 23, 2020

Update: March 22, 2020

  • Hate. According to multiple open source media, the FBI sent an alert warning of extremist groups that are encouraging their members to spread the novel coronavirus to police and Jewish people. Reportedly, members of extremist groups are encouraging one another to spread the virus, if contracted, through bodily fluids and personal interactions at places where Jewish people may be congregated, to include markets, political offices, businesses and places of worship. The alert also reportedly said some white supremacists and neo-Nazis were also urging members who contract the virus to spread the disease to cops by using spray bottles.
  • Patrols. Yesterday the New York City Police Department began a new series of patrols in connection with monitoring locations and educating members of the public on safe social distancing.  Officers are stopping by public areas and reminding individuals gathered to be aware of their distance from each other.  In addition, we have now added larger supermarkets to our ongoing surveys of restaurants and bars.  Starting today, officers will be visiting nail and hair salons as well as other personal care locations to insure their compliance with current mandates.  Once again, our police officers, City businesses and all New Yorkers did a great job responding to a challenge.
    “We are proud of our officers.  They are a frontline in public safety, awareness & education. They’ve always been there for us and they are there for us now during this challenging time,” said Chief of Patrol Fausto Pichardo.
  • Scams. Scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information, or both. They are using fake CDC emails and phishing emails to part victims from their money. See more information from the FBI here. More tips on cybersecurity from the State of New Jersey here.
  • From UJA-Federation.
    •  Important information from BDO about tax-free qualified disaster payments to employees in connection with COVID-19.
    • A new $75 Million NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund has been established to provide grants and loans to New York City-based social services and cultural organizations to support them in the COVID-19 Pandemic. For more information, please see this press release .
    • Two Requests for Proposals are live – one for human services and one for arts and culture. Please visit the NYC COVID-10 Response and Impact Fund site hosted by the New York Community Trust to review eligibility requirements and to apply.
    • No-interest loans are also available to human services and arts and culture nonprofit based in New York City through the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund.
  • Please support @SenatorLankford’s amendment to dramatically expand the universal charitable deduction in the latest relief package being debated now. Sign on to the National Council of Nonprofits letter here.
  • You can help (from a Ramaz alum). “I am a resident doctor on the Upper Westside at Mount Sinai West/St. Lukes and as you can imagine, things have been really intense at the hospital, really intensifying every day. My hospital and all the hospitals are running very low on protective equipment including masks, gloves, gowns, goggles, hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes. This is putting the healthcare providers and other patients at risk of getting sick! I was wondering if Ramaz/KJ has any protective equipment to donate and if you could also spread the word to the amazing Ramaz/KJ community to donate any extra equipment they have! They can reach out to me to donate here or they can donate to their local hospital! Ramaz is stepping up and we thank all of the heroes in the medical community who are working so hard to get us through this.

Update: March 20, 2020

Maya Avishai’s au currant COVID Challah is rising in Rechovot.

Update: March 19, 2020

  • Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed an executive order mandating businesses that rely on in-office personnel to decrease their in-office workforce by 75 percent. This follows the Governor’s directive yesterday that all businesses implement work-from-home policies. Click here to see exemptions and other NY steps.
  • The U.S. State Department upgraded its travel warning, advising Americans who do not return “should be prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.”
  • Prime Minister Netanyahu tightened the isolation rules in Israel “to save many lives”. For the next seven days, most people leaving their homes will be subject to fines. See more from Israel here.
  • Today, DHS issued “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19” advising such workers, “If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.” The list identifies workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are essential to continued critical infrastructure viability, including staffing operations centers, maintaining and repairing critical infrastructure, operating call centers, working construction, and performing management functions, among others. The industries they support represent, but are not necessarily limited to, medical and healthcare, telecommunications, information technology systems, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water and wastewater, law enforcement, and public works.
  • Cybersecurity experts note that many bad actors are taking advantage of the crisis. Make sure that your protections are up-t0-date and you are not falling for the multitude of scams circulating. Get more tips from the DHS Cybersecurity mavens here.

Update: March 18, 2020

  • The surge of cases in Orthodox communities and a call from the White House brought clear guidance from their recognized leadership including the Hatzalah Volunteer Ambulance Corp, Moetzet Gedolai Hatorah, the Bet Din Tzedek of Crown Heights and more.
  • Click here for the NYS confirmed cases page.
  • The Governor and Legislature have an agreement on a bill guaranteeing job protection and pay for New Yorkers who have been quarantined as a result of novel coronavirus.
  • Governor Cuomo signed an executive order directing all schools in New York to close by Wednesday, March 18 for two weeks ending April 1.
  • Casinos, gyms, theaters are closed until further notice.
  • Bars and restaurants are closed, but takeout can be ordered during the period of closure.
  • Strongly advise only services and businesses that are essential stay open after 8:00PM
    • Groceries
    • Gas stations
    • Pharmacies
    • Medical facilities
  • All local governments must reduce their workforce by at least 50%. Non-essential state workers are working from home.
  • New York State is waiving all park fees in state, local and county parks.
  • Testing is free for all eligible New Yorkers as ordered by a health care provider.

Update: March 17, 2020

Update: March 16, 2020


The consensus regarding the need for social distancing is emerging at all levels of government. Today, the CDC issued updated guidance regarding events and gathering. If there is minimal or moderate spread in your community:

  • Cancel events for groups of 250 people or more.
    • Alert! Starting 3/15 and for 8 weeks, CDC recommends all events of 50+ people be cancelled or held virtually. See full recommendation.
  • For organizations that serve people who are at higher risk of serious COVID-19 illness, cancel events for groups of 10 people or more.

If there is substantial spread in your community, cancel events of any size.

New York State, New York City, Long Island and Westchester are already making recommendations along those lines, including many points of gathering: restaurants and bars must move to take out and delivery services and movie theaters, gyms, and casinos will be closed.  NY State courts will be closing for non-essential functions.

Here are some useful links from our friends at NYCVOAD:

  • Report cases of COVID-19 at your agency to DOHMH’s NYC Provider Access Line at 866-692-3641.
  • According to HSC, organizations can order cleaning supplies and medical supplies in bulk from the NYS Preferred Source Program’s website. Soaps and sanitizers can be found here. General cleaning supplies can be found here.
  • The Lawyer’s Alliance has guidance for nonprofits to protect themselves, including HR practices.  This was last updated on 3/10.
  • Linked In has online trainings for people working remotely, like time management.
  • Some tech companies are offering free access to tech services:
  • Waivers and Services available to the public
    • Evictions – NYC Courts announced a moratorium on evictions in NYC and suspended the issuance of new eviction warrants when a tenant fails to appear in court.
    • Water Service – DEP has suspended water service shut-offs and shutdowns for:
      • Failure to comply with Cross Connection
      • Orders to Cease and desist due to non-compliance
        • Note: Routine shutdowns due to emergencies, construction and repair will continue as normal.

Update: March 12, 2020

Posters

Update: March 11, 2020

  • “We have got to assume it is going to get worse and worse and worse.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, issued a stark warning to lawmakers that the coronavirus would continue spreading rapidly in the U.S. His comments came within hours of the World Health Organization declaring the outbreak a pandemic, confirming what many epidemiologists have been saying for weeks.
  • Today, Governor Cuomo announced a new cooperative effort with New York business leaders to voluntarily implement different work shifts and telecommuting in an effort to reduce density. Most SUNY and CUNY classes will be moved online, joining Columbia, NYU and many other higher education institutions.
  • Our best advice is that schools in our community that are not already closed by health authorities should plan for the eventuality that the pandemic could get worse. Those organizations that are able to use staggered hours and telecommuting should consider how they could implement their plans. Many organizations are canceling meetings or moving them to conference calls or Zoom.
  • In New York City, the Hebrew Free Loan Society announced that is offering a Coronavirus Financial Bridge Loan, of $2,000-$5,000 interest-free, for individuals with financial challenges caused by the outbreak. “For many working people in New York City and the surrounding area, several weeks without pay can quickly lead to a financial crisis,” the agency stated. For information about the loans: http://bit.ly/HFLScovid19email. See other Jewish Week COVID-19 Updates here, Forward here.

Update: March 10, 2020

  • Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today accepted the recommendation of State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker for new emergency measures to contain the novel coronavirus cluster in New Rochelle. The area currently has 108 confirmed cases and is considered a “cluster.” The protocols include closing schools, houses of worship and other large gathering facilities within a one-mile radius in New Rochelle for a two-week period, from Thursday, March 12th to Wednesday, March 25th. The Governor has deployed National Guard troops to a Health Department command post in New Rochelle to assist with the outbreak. The troops are mobilizing to deliver food to homes and help with cleaning public spaces in the containment area. The Governor confirmed 31 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 173 confirmed cases in New York State (New York City: 36 (17 new), Nassau: 19 (2 new), Rockland: 6 (2 new)). Here is the transcript. 
  • Mayor Bill deBlasio spoke about the high risk COVID-19 poses to seniors and noted that a coordinated task force of representatives from DOHMH, DFTA, NYCHA, HPD, HDC, NYCEM, and PEU are having daily meetings regarding the City’s elderly population. Read his transcript here.

Update: March 9, 2020

  • Governor Cuomo announced that 142 people in NY State tested positive for Coronovirus.
  • Today, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu announced, “”After a day of complex discussions, we have made a decision: Whoever arrives in Israel from abroad will enter quarantine for 14 days. This is a difficult decision but it is essential to maintaining public health, which takes precedence over everything. This decision will be in effect for two weeks. At the same time, we will make decisions to safeguard the Israeli economy.” See Israel’s Ministry of Health Coronavirus webpage here.
  • The New York Jewish Week has a Coronavirus Update covering developments in the story, including closings.
  • Recommendations from Mayor deBlasio:
    • Currently (March 8) 19 New York City residents are under mandatory quarantine and 2,176 are under voluntary home isolation. Those under mandatory quarantine receive daily calls and twice weekly unannounced visits by DOHMH. Upon identification, all individuals under voluntary home isolation will receive calls and texts with information and reminders to call a doctor or DOHMH if they feel sick or develop symptoms, such as fever and cough or shortness of breath.
    • To reduce overcrowding, the New York City is advising private-sector employers and employees to consider telecommuting where possible and to consider staggered start times for workers. Those who take the subways at rush hour should consider commuting to work via alternative modes of transportation, like biking or walking, if possible.
    • New York City is advising those with chronic lung disease, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or a weakened immune system to avoid unnecessary events and gatherings. If you have family or friends who have one of these conditions, do not visit them if you feel sick. Those with a history of smoking and vaping are more likely to experience serious illness related to COVID-19.
    • New York City agencies will be hosting another Community & Faith Leaders COVID-19 call which is scheduled for Thursday, March 12 at 2:00 PM. As a reminder this call is hosted by the NYC Department of Health and NYC Emergency Management Community Outreach Bureau. All guests will be muted and should email communityprep@oem.nyc.gov with questions. The call will start with a COVID-19 Updates followed by Q+A. The dial in number is (800) 832-0736. The room number (access code) for all the users is 5245195.
  • As our institutions adapt their Purim activities, we urge them  to consider business continuity plans. Here are two resources from Nonprofit New York:
  • The Israel Trauma Coalition distributed Advice for parents/caregivers to help Israeli families cope with the stresses arising from the spread of COVID-19 and to strengthen their resilience. The advice is transferable to our communities. English | Russian
  • Mazel tov! (JTA) Yeshiva University’s men’s basketball team continued its record-breaking season with a dominant second-round win in the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Maccabees notched a 102-83 victory Saturday night over Penn State Harrisburg for Y.U.’s 29th straight win. The team is 29-1 this season. The game took place in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins University’s 1,100-seat Goldfarb Gym. Due to concerns about coronavirus cases in Maryland, spectators were not permitted to attend the game.

Update: March 8, 2020

  • Governor Cuomo declared a State of Emergency to help New York more quickly and effectively contain the spread of the virus. There are 16 additional confirmed cases of #Coronavirus in NYS, bringing total to 105. Westchester: 82 NYC: 12 Nassau: 5 Rockland: 2 Saratoga: 2 Suffolk: 1 Ulster: 1
  • On Friday, Governor Cuomo said he doesn’t believe it is necessary at this point for most New Yorkers to avoid sporting events, concerts and other crowded venues. But, he said, “my message would be if you are a senior citizen or immunocompromised I would think seriously about attending a large gathering now. I said that to my mother.” In general, seniors should also consider whether they should fly or board cruises.
  • Travel. Around the world, countries are taking steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Before you travel, be sure to check the CDC travel website for late-breaking information.
  • Students and staff in BOTH SAR Academy and SAR High School are now under precautionary quarantine through Monday, March 16 based on the last possible exposure of a positive case within our buildings. They are ordered not to leave their homes. SAR will provide families with the reading of the Megillah via Zoom.
  • Cybersecurity. The Department of Homeland Security CISA recommends the as organizations explore various alternate workplace options in response to COVID-19, CISA recommends examining security of information technology systems by taking the following steps:
    • Secure systems that enable remote access.
      • Ensure Virtual Private Network and other remote access systems are fully patched.
      • Enhance system monitoring to receive early detection and alerts on abnormal activity.
      • Implement multi-factor authentication.
      • Ensure all remote machines have properly configured firewalls, as well as anti-malware and intrusion prevention software installed.
    • Test remote access solutions capacity or increase capacity.
    • Increase awareness of information technology support mechanisms for employees who work remotely.
    • Update incident response plans to consider workforce changes in a distributed environment.

  • Agudath Israel’s program – Keeping Healthy, Keeping Calm – offered Halachic and general guidance for what we can and should be doing in the wake of recent developments in the Jewish community with regard to Coronavirus. The presenters included: Rabbi Zev Cohen,
    Rabbi Aaron E. Glatt, MD (Chair of the Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai South Nassau, Chief of Infectious Diseases & Epidemiologist and Assistant Rabbi at Young Israel of Woodmere and Anshei Chesed) and Dr. Norman Blumenthal (Zachter Family Chair in Trauma and Crisis Counseling and Director of OHEL Miriam Center for Trauma, Bereavement and Crisis Response). Access the Recording via this link.
  • Rabbi at synagogue at center of NY outbreak diagnosed with coronavirus | Rabbi Reuven Fink, who also teaches at Yeshiva University, has been in quarantine after he was in contact with congregant who tested positive, institution says in tweet.

New Rochelle Young Israel Synagogue in Westchester County, New York (Google Maps)

His comments came within hours of the World Health Organization declaring the outbreak a pandemic, confirming what many epidemiologists have been saying for weeks.
The Wall Street Journal.

Update: March 5, 2020.

  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) held a joint private sector engagement teleconference with the Department of Health and Hunan Services (HHS) earlier today. COVID-19 is an expanding global outbreak – with community spread occurring internationally and in the United States. An HHS official reported 60 cases in 12 states at the time of the call. The virus’ spread and actions taken by business to mitigate transmission have the effect of exacerbating cyber security risk due to:
    • Cyber criminals exploiting fear and desire for information to perpetrate phishing campaigns; and
    • Expanded use of remote connections to support broader telecommuting.
  • During a briefing on the novel coronavirus, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today confirmed 11 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the total to 22 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the 22 individuals who tested positive for the virus, one resides in Nassau County, three reside in New York City and 18 reside in Westchester County. In response to the growing number of cases, the Governor activated the statewide Emergency Operation Center in Albany, as well as two Emergency Operations Center outposts in Westchester County: one in Hawthorne and one in New Rochelle.
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio today updated New Yorkers on the City’s response efforts regarding COVID-19. As community transmission increases, the Mayor is reminding New Yorkers to take basic precautions while going about their lives: wash your hands, cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, stay home if you are sick and call your doctor if you experience the following symptoms: fever, cough and/or shortness of breath. Additionally, the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene is asking New Yorkers who return from the following countries to self-isolate for 14 days as a precaution: China, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Japan.
  • Get some practical advice for staff who perform general cleaning and disinfection  from DOHMH’s  General Disinfection Guidance for Businesses and Non-Healthcare Settings. Also check out their Schools and Families Guidance for Novel Coronavirus.
  • As the coronavirus continues to spread, JFNA has compiled resources and other materials to help Federation communities stay informed and make important decisions related to missions, events and other programs.
  • Download and distribute the coronovirus flyer prepared by the CDC-  What to do if you are sick with the coronavirus disease.
  • See a featured post from the Times of Israel blog on Rabbinic leadership in the age of coronavirus with an overview of some rabbinic opinions.

Update: March 4, 2020.

UPDATE: We have learned of 5 new confirmed cases of #COVID19, bringing the total of confirmed cases to 11.

The cases are all in a single family from New Rochelle: A 46yo woman, her 45yo husband, and 3 of their children.

The entire family is under self-quarantine.

— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 4, 2020

City disease detectives are on campus to identify close contacts of the student and connect those individuals to testing immediately. As of this morning, two contacts have transferred to Bellevue hospital for testing.

— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) March 4, 2020

  • Today’s NYC COVID-19 report.
  • New resources: The Jewish Education Project has a resources page, including and excellent webinar and free access to a distant learning app for schools.
  • From SAR/ Young Israel of New Rochelle: The Westchester County Health Commissioner, Dr. Sherlita Amler, wrote the following in a letter to the Young Israel of New Rochelle community: “A quarantine means that both adults and children should remain at home. This means they should not go to work, attend school, go shopping or attend religious services or gatherings anywhere, and should have no guests, visitors or staff in their homes during this period.” According to NYSDOH, if people in self-quarantine begin exhibiting flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, etc), they should contact their physician immediately and call one of hotlines…” (See above) As per Governor Cuomo and NYSDOH, SAR High School will remain closed through Purim day and will re-open on Wednesday, March 11. SAR Academy will remain closed through Friday, March 6 and will re-open on Monday, March 9. In addition, under the direction of Governor Cuomo and NYSDOH, all High School students and faculty are asked to self-quarantine through Friday, March 6 as a precaution so that the Department of Health can better understand how quickly this infection is spreading through the community.
  • From Yeshiva University: We have unfortunately received news this morning that our student has tested positive for COVID-19. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family as well as to all those affected. We are taking every precaution by canceling all classes on Wilf Campus in Washington Heights for Wednesday March 4, 2020. This includes all in-person graduate courses on that campus as well as at the boys’ high school.
  • Israel’s Ministry of Health confirmed an additional three cases, leading hundreds of Israelis to be placed in isolation.
  • Religious organizations: Many synagogues have asked us for guidance about upcoming events. We have been in touch with all of the major streams of Judaism and there is absolute consensus that synagogues should comply with the orders of their local health officials. That being said, see materials from the URJ here and the USCJ here. The RCA, OU and Yeshiva University will hold a conference call for rabbis on the subject tomorrow and the Agudath Israel is working on recommendations.

Update: March 3, 2020.

  • Jewish patient zero. A New Rochelle resident is the second New Yorker to test positive for COVID-19. He was transferred from a hospital in Bronxville to a facility in New York City. At the direction of New York State, Westchester County Health Commissioner Dr. Sherlita Amler directed that [Temple] Young Israel in New Rochelle halt all services immediately and for the foreseeable future due to potential COVID-19 exposure connected to the man who tested positive today.

Additionally, congregants of the Temple who attended services on February 22, and a funeral and a bat mitzvah at the temple on February 23 must self-quarantine until at the very earliest March 8.   Those who do not self-quarantine will be mandated to by the County Department of Health to do so.

  • SAR Academy, Westchester Day School and the Westchester Torah Academy all suspended classes for the day. One of the children of the New Rochelle man is a student at SAR High School. All of the schools are working with the appropriate health officials.
  • Another son is an undergraduate student at Yeshiva University. Yeshiva University reports that he has not been on campus since February 27th and is in quarantine with the other members of his family. Health officials are testing all family members for COVID-19. In addition, employees of the patient’s law firm are also quarantined, including a Cardozo student. The University is disinfecting all relevant common areas.
  • Governor Cuomo announced that he will amend the Paid Sick Leave Budget Proposal to specifically protect people who stay home from work because they are being isolated or quarantined due to COVID-19. The state will institute a new cleaning protocol at schools and in the public transportation system to help stop any potential spread of the virus.

Update: March 1, 2020. The spectre of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) hangs over individuals and organizations. The Jewish Insider reports on the scene at the AIPAC conference: “As attendees buzz about the latest developments with the coronavirus, many are opting to replace handshakes, hugs and fist bumps with the elbow bump. For its part, AIPAC is distributing thousands of travel-size bottles of hand sanitizer…” It is a respiratory illness spread from person to person, first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.How can I help protect myself? The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.

  • Get your flu shot — it’s not too late.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath

If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should

  • Contact your health care provider for guidance.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Community and organizational measuresOn March 1, 2020 officials announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in New York City. Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot:“While we hoped this moment wouldn’t come, it was something we prepared for. Our disease detectives have already identified close contacts of the patient, who may have been exposed, and will take appropriate measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Despite this development, New Yorkers remain at low risk for contracting COVID-19. As we confront this emerging outbreak, we need to separate facts from fear, and guard against stigma and panic.”

If COVID-19 cases reach a certain level, state and local public health authorities may decide to implement:

  • Temporary closures or dismissals of childcare facilities and schools;
  • Other social distancing measures that increase the physical space between people, including:
    • Workplace social distancing measures, such as replacing in-person meetings with teleworking; and
    • Modifying, postponing, or cancelling mass gatherings.

Planning aheadThere is no need to panic, there is a need to plan. So what are the implications of temporary closures and/or social distancing? Consider what such steps would mean to your organizations.

  • Promote the behaviors that  help people protect themselves.
  • Authorities might suggest that we avoid mass transit. Can your employees work remotely?
  • Define your “mission critical” functions, i.e., what needs to get done — no matter what. That will vary from organization to organization, but think about payroll and payables. If you supply healthcare aids to the frail elderly or meals-0n-wheels you will need a more robust plan.
  • Do you have mass gatherings on your calendar (possibly including religious services)? Do you have a backup plan?
  • What about domestic or international travel? Are those trips necessary? Be sure to monitor U.S. State Department Travel Advisories at Travel.State.Gov.
  • Have you educated your employees and constituencies about how to protect themselves and others (see above)?
  • Have you reviewed and implemented the CDC Guidance for schools and employers? Have you notified your constituencies about your interim policies?

Additional resources:

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