Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan on the Upper West Side, one of city’s leading Jewish institutions, is closing today and tomorrow.
“Out of an abundance of caution,” the JCC Manhattan announced in a tweet Tuesday night, the building will be closed “in order to do a thorough & deep hospital-grade sanitizing of our building as two people in our community tested positive for Coronavirus.
“We expect to reopen Friday; should that change, you will hear from us,” the JCC stated. “While the Dept. of Health has not asked us to close, we believe this is the right decision.”
In addition, don’t count on going to shul in New Rochelle this week. Or during the next two weeks. Or anywhere within a one-mile radius of the Westchester city.
On Tuesday Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the city is establishing a “containment” area around the city that has been the epicenter of the coronavirus. Since Lawrence Garbuz, a congregant of Young Israel of New Rochelle, tested positive for the communicable disease, and the rest of his family and several other people with whom he had been in contact were also found to have coronavirus, the number of Westchester residents testing positive has steadily risen — to more than 100, at last count.
The number of U.S. confirmed cases rose to 1,025 early Wednesday.
According to Cuomo’s announcement, all large gathering places —including several public schools, synagogues and churches — within the containment area will be closed from Thursday through March 25. Residents who live within the containment area will be free to leave their homes and the area so long as they have not otherwise been ordered to quarantine, Cuomo added.
The National Guard will be called in to help clean facilities and deliver food.
“This is literally a matter of life and death,” the governor said.
Administrators at SAR Academy in Riverdale, the Modern Orthodox day school in the Bronx, said they know of 29 confirmed cases of coronavirus at the Modern Orthodox school, including faculty, students and staff. The number was disclosed in an email Monday to parents and faculty.
SAR was the first New York Jewish day school to close as a result of the epidemic, after it was determined that a student, Garbuz’s daughter, had tested positive for the disease.
The New York Times reported that after Garbuz checked into New York-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville, N.Y., on Feb. 27 with what doctors thought was a typical case of pneumonia, it took four days before he was diagnosed with Covid-19. In that time, Garbuz came in contact with an unknown number of doctors, nurses, non-medical staff and visitors.
Dr. Alan Berger of Englewood, N.J., a gynecologist at NYU Langone Health who is a prominent Jewish Republican activist, is in self-quarantine after attending the American Conservative Union’s CPAC convention from Feb. 26 to 29 in National Harbor, Maryland. An attendee fitting Berger’s description was said to have tested positive for the coronavirus and to have had close contact with a number of high-profile Republican lawmakers.
The Luria Academy in Brooklyn, which was closed Monday, reopened on Tuesday after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that schools should close only if someone who is regularly in the building tests positive.
While many Jewish events have been cancelled or postponed in recent days, or livestreamed (Purim Megillah readings), at least one major Jewish gathering is going forward: this weekend’s Republican Jewish Coalition conference, in Las Vegas. The annual gathering, scheduled to feature an address by President Trump, drew nearly 1,500 people last year.
Matt Brooks, RJC executive director, said he expects “a strong showing” this year. “The marketplace is determining whether we continue with the event,” he said. “We’re not forcing anyone to come.”
A fifth case of confirmed coronavirus at last week’s AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington was confirmed Tuesday.
More than 100 flights to Israel were canceled on Tuesday, as the country was about to inaugurate new quarantine rules for international travelers.
Online shopping and shipping in Israel could suffer a “heavy blow” as a result of coronavirus, with shipping delays projected to last for months, Haaretz reported.
The suspension of flights into Israel from Europe and the US is causing delays in orders from overseas through services such as eBay and Amazon. With flights from China and Hong Kong already suspended, similar delays are expected through e-commerce platforms.
“The minute they stopped flights from China and Hong Kong, the entire shipment industry sustained a heavy blow,” courier company DHL Express marketing and sales representative Yonatan Ivgi said.
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
JTA contributed to this report.