We continue to investigate the issue of reinfection, where a patient suffered COVID back in March, and then recovered fully and developed antibodies. He then became ill again with a COVID like illness after being exposed at work, and had a nasal swab positive for coronavirus. Even more worrisome was that one of his children then also became ill from him, with a positive COVID nasal swab. B”H they are both recovering at this time, seemingly without complication. As this is a fairly unique and unexpected situation, the patients involved are being fully investigated at this time by researchers interested in the immune response to COVID, its durability, and other important issues, which remain to be clarified. A handful of other cases are being actively worked up in the neighborhood, however currently there certainly is NO need for panic that we are witnessing a “second wave”. Nevertheless given the serious nature of COVID and the knowledge that antibodies are rapidly declining in many people, along with the above case, and complicated by many visitors from out of town including from “hotspots” around the country, we find it necessary to issue the following advisory.
For the past few weeks we have been operating on “green light” mode, feeling safe that most had experienced the virus and that collective immunity would protect us all, including the vulnerable. This allowed us to gradually open up and resocialize, even bringing the vulnerable out of seclusion. This “green light” mode was in distinct contrast to our “red light” mode in the weeks following Purim, when we were in a time of crisis. However, with all of the concerns stated above (given the potential danger of a single vulnerable person becoming ill), we feel it prudent to move to a “yellow light” mode at the present time. We are not in the same state of urgency as we were during the worst stage of the crisis, but we are in a more heightened state of alert than we have been these past few weeks. We must all be exceedingly cautious to ensure that our community does not experience a resurgence. Hopefully these cases are isolated phenomena, nevertheless one case is too much!
- Please be extremely cautious with respect to social distancing, mask use, and hand washing. This is for everyone in the community, whether or not you’ve been sick already and whether or not you’re in a high risk category.
- Please avoid crowded indoor settings. This applies to shuls as well, which according to NYS guidelines should currently be operating at reduced (25%) capacity. In addition, mask use is of particular importance in the indoor setting such as shuls and the like. Large shuls where there is significant crowding, visitors from elsewhere, and lack of mask wearing are a very worrisome phenomenon and should be avoided.
- Kiddushim/farbrengens in shul causes an additional concern, given the inevitable crowding, lack of mask use, and potential for shared secretions. These should be avoided at this time. The after-davening kiddush where everyone is finally relaxing and has their guard down is not the place to be for anyone who is safety minded.
- Those from other communities – please, avoid visiting Crown Heights for the time being. This is even more critical when involving those from the “hotspot” states such as Florida and California, where cases are unfortunately surging. NY State requires a 14-day quarantine for all those from those regions. Similarly, those currently living in Crown Heights are advised to not visit those hotspot states for the time being, and they must quarantine on their return if they do so.
- If anyone has any new COVID symptoms (fever, sore throat, cough, loss of smell, muscle aches, etc), regardless of whether you may have had COVID already before, please arrange to get tested for the virus.
- Please isolate yourself until the results of the virus test are back, and your close contacts should minimize their going out as much as possible.
- If the virus test is positive, please isolate yourself until both 10 days from symptom onset have passed AND 3 days of resolution of fever/symptoms have passed. Your close contacts should quarantine for 14 days from your onset of symptoms.
- If the virus test is negative and you remain ill, then please continue to isolate yourself and get tested a second time after 2 days, to avoid missing the diagnosis. If again negative then you do not need to isolate yourself, and your close contacts do not need to quarantine.
Wishing everyone continued good health,
– The Gedaliah Society, in conjunction with Dr. Rosen