The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester’s leadership has been diligently monitoring the worldwide and local outbreak and spread of the respiratory illnesses caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Consistent with national guidance, we are closely following local advisories to track what is happening in the Rochester region. While much remains to be learned about the virus, current statistics indicate that 80 percent of patients with COVID-19 are likely to have mild symptoms. Those at highest risk are people over age 60 and those who have underlying health conditions.
Because the health and safety of community members is our top priority, we want to share information, resources, and steps we are taking to help safeguard our community’s health.
Prohibition on Public Events
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that for the next eight weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the U.S. Additionally, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill including a slate of measures that included $40 million worth of new spending, to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. The proposal addresses direct virus prevention measures as well as the indirect consequences of those measures. The money appropriated will go toward hiring new staff and also purchasing new equipment to respond to the outbreak.
Jewish Community Events
Many Jewish community events have been canceled or postponed. Congregations and organizations will offer online events, including live streaming of Shabbat services, in order to both keep our community connected and maintain social distancing. Please check with the specific organization about event status, scheduling, and available online alternatives.
At the recommendation of Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Michael Mendoza, all Rochester-area public schools will be closed indefinitely due to coronavirus and will be reviewed on a week-to-week basis. Out of an abundance of caution, the State University of New York (SUNY) campuses are moving as many academic programs as possible to distance learning via SUNY’s online platform, videoconferencing, teleconferencing, email, and even traditional mail. Please check with your school, university, college, community college, technical school, career school and apprenticeship programs about scheduling and available online alternatives.
WHERE CAN I FIND ACCURATE INFORMATION ABOUT COVID-19 AND OTHER RESOURCES?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coronavirus Disease 2019 Handouts & Posters (put them up around your office and other spaces open to the public)
New York State Health Department (the coronavirus page is updated daily)
WHAT IS YOUR FEDERATION DOING?
How Can I Help?
Here is how to get involved:
JFS is providing crisis-intervention or short/long-term counseling via secure video appointments or telephone. Please use this link and leave your name/phone number for a call back, or call the helpline at 585-461-0114.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester is launching a Community Fund which will help our institutions manage through the COVID-19 crisis, address social service needs, and provide emergency assistance to community members in need. To learn more, or donate today please click here.
WHAT CAN WE DO AS A COMMUNITY TO HELP PREVENT THE SPREAD OF ILLNESSES LIKE FLU AND CORONAVIRUS?
The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) identifies hand washing as one of the best defensive actions you can take against any virus or illness. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use alcohol-based sanitizers when soap and water are not available.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless your hands are clean.
Cover your nose and mouth when you cough. Cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands, or use tissue. Throw away any used tissues promptly, then wash your hands again.
Sanitize and disinfect surfaces regularly, because the virus is spread through droplets. According to the NYSDOH, the average lifespan of the virus on any surface ranges between 4 and 9 days.
Limit personal contact – refrain from hand-shaking or hugging.
Limit exposure to common-use items in a public space, refrain from touching handrails, door knobs, or other objects with your bare skin. If you have touched public-space surfaces, be sure to wash up as soon as possible.
If you are sick, please stay at home. Even if you do not think you have been exposed to COVID-19, you should stay home if you have any of the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
Do not go to the emergency room unless essential. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs.
If you suspect you may have been exposed to the coronavirus and are not experiencing life-threatening conditions (shortness of breath, for example), please call your doctor’s office. Nurses and doctors will be able to advise whether you need to be seen. There are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronavirus. Most people will recover on their own, but some people can develop pneumonia and require medical care, including hospitalization.
Coronavirus does not recognize race, nationality, or ethnicity. Discrimination based on ethnicity or ancestry will only worsen the situation. Having Chinese ancestry - or any ancestry - does not make a person more vulnerable to COVID-19. Do not assume that people wearing masks are sick. Based on cultural differences, masks are worn for various reasons.
The NYSDOH has established a hotline to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in New York State, how the virus is spread, or what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-888-364-3065.
The Federation will continue to monitor the situation, update our community, give guidance, and distribute resources about COVID-19 as more information becomes available.
We appreciate your partnership as we all continue to monitor this rapidly evolving situation.