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Coronavirus COVID-19 Medical Resources

Shaarei Coronavirus Q&A Topics - Updated 3.15.2020
The Rabbi had asked us to make recommendations to the executive board last week regarding the shul's response to the COVID19 outbreak. We were pleased to help, but we are reaching out again because we understand that there continues to be much confusion about how to implement current national and local recommendations in this rapidly evolving situation. 
We have volunteered to provide some general guidance and to provide updates when we can. Please understand that these views represent our best synthesis of available information, but that the situation is quite fluid and may change quickly. If you receive different information from a reliable source particular to your situation you should be guided by that advice.  
For this evening (3.15.20) we will provide a list of resources, general background on the reasoning behind current recommendations to minimize person-to-person contact (and to explain why that has resulted in shul and school closures), and some advice on general questions that have come up.
A few resources:
USA Today: Basic overview of COVID-19 and Social Distancing
UpToDate: Patient education: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (The Basics) JAMA Pediatrics: What Does the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Mean for Families?
United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):  
If you want to see a video about the exponential growth of the virus, click here
Why did the shul and the schools shut down?
COVID-19 spreads quickly and as far as we know has a death rate many times greater than the flu. While all age groups can potentially become very sick with the virus, older individuals (those above age 60) are at greatest risk for severe illness and death. Shuls, schools, museums, and other institutions have shut down in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing in order to “flatten the curve” (please click the USA Today link to understand flattening the curve and social distancing). We know that this virus is very easily spread from person to person and that some people have spread it to others even before they had symptoms. Our best hope for slowing down its further spread is for us to keep away from each other for quite a while, as difficult as that will be. That is why the schools and shul closed. Bringing people together in groups is one of the things most likely to fuel the spread of COVID-19. Reducing face to face interactions across our society will, at the very least, slow the transmission of the virus. Although you may have heard that children are less affected by the virus, we believe they may be just as likely to get infected.  

What should I do to reduce the chance I will come in contact with someone who had COVID-19?
As outlined above, we are practicing social distancing (see USA Today  link) (minimizing contact with people and keeping a distance of 6 feet from anyone we see). If you are going to let someone into your home that is not part of your regular living situation you should ask them the following questions EACH TIME they come into your home:
 - Do you have a cough?
 - Do you have a runny nose?
 - Have you had a fever?
 - Have you been in contact with anyone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19?
 - Have you recently been in a level 2 or level 3 country (CDC definition)?
If the answer to any of these is yes, and these symptoms are not chronic, you should strongly consider not allowing that person into your house.
Why can’t my children get together with other children even for a brief playdate?
We know it will be hard for kids to stay at home and not to get together with their friends for play dates, but we are suggesting that they stay apart in order not to spread COVID-19. Some people have asked why schools should close and why kids should stay away from each other since kids don’t generally get very sick with COVID-19. The reason is that they can spread it to older people who can get extremely sick and that the more people who practice social distancing, the more successful we will be at slowing the spread of the disease overall. If we do not slow the spread, current predictions are that we would rapidly overwhelm our healthcare system.

Can I have childcare come into my house to take care of children since I must go to work?   
If you can manage to have your kids at home without having other people come into your home to help with childcare, that would be optimal since social distancing is most effective when families don’t get together with others. But if you rely on someone else to help with childcare so that you can work, you should do the best that you can to minimize the risks. For example, if you have to choose between having a healthy college student babysit your kids versus having your 70 year-old parents watch them, it would be much safer to have the college student watch them than your parents, as older adults are at significant risk for severe pneumonia and death, whereas young people typically have mild infection. As recommended, if you allow anyone into your home that is not part of your regular living situation, we would recommend that you ask anyone who comes into your home whether they have any signs or symptoms of illness as outlined above.

Why shouldn’t we share objects such as books and toys between families?
COVID-19 lives on surfaces and can likely stay there for many days. Therefore, sharing objects can spread the virus to others.  

Whom should I let into my home?
Ideally you would not allow anyone into your house that is not part of your regular household. If you do allow anyone into your home, please be sure to ask them the questions above
We hope that these topics are of help.  We will post updates as needed.
If you need specific advice regarding your personal situation we recommend contacting your health care provider or hospital hotlines that some of the hospitals have established.
Wed, May 5 2021 23 Iyyar 5781