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COVID-19 is a disease caused by a respiratory virus. It was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. COVID-19 is a brand new virus that has not previously been identified in humans. Worldwide, COVID-19 has resulted in hundreds of thousands of infections, in many cases causing illness or even death. Cases have spread to countries throughout the world, with more cases reported daily.
Continued Social Distancing Requirement
A group of local and national physicians released a statement, reiterated by the Vaad HaRabbanim of Baltimore, imploring members of our kehillos to remain vigilant about adherence to isolation and social distancing guidelines without exception:
“Our Jewish communities require unique considerations and are at higher risk for rapid disease transmission.”
Blog: Baltimore's Dr. Grove, "My Covid Journey"
How does it spread?
The virus is thought to be transmitted mainly when respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected individual enter another person’s nose, mouth, or eyes. These droplets may spread out six feet away from a person. In addition, the virus can stay alive for quite some time, perhaps even as long as multiple days (with varying timeframes for different materials). This latter risk can and should be mitigated by thorough cleaning and disinfecting. Viral spread may occur before or after people show symptoms, and symptoms may
appear 2-14 days after exposure.
Who is at risk?
People 65 years and older
People with underlying medical conditions or experiences, for example:
● Chronic lung disease or asthma
● Congestive heart failure or coronary artery disease
● Neurologic conditions that weaken the ability to cough
● Weakened immune system
● Chemotherapy or radiation for cancer (currently or in recent past)
What Are The Symptoms?
The symptoms of the virus are flu-like and may include the following: fever, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, coughing, muscle aches and fatigue.
What should I do if I was exposed?
Known exposures should follow the same guidance as travelers; individuals should self-quarantine and monitor for symptoms for 14 days. Practice extreme social distancing even from those in your home, but especially elderly or vulnerable individuals.
What Should I Do if I Feel Sick?
Stay Home! Spreading illness of any kind taxes the health system that has to prioritize cases of COVID-19. It also increases the risks for the elderly and at-risk populations.
Call your doctor prior to going into any medical facility. This will allow for appropriate preparations. Your doctor will also help you assess if you should be tested for COVID-19. Bear in mind that, unless an individual requires acute medical attention, even patients testing positive for COVID-19 will generally be sent home to quarantine for 14 days.
Travel to areas of ongoing transmission is discouraged. Individuals traveling to Baltimore from areas of ongoing transmission (including Israel, New York and New Jersey) should self-quarantine with extreme social distancing for 14 days from arrival. Such individuals should practice extreme social distancing even from those in their home, but especially elderly or vulnerable individuals. This advice applies to students, close family members and anyone else coming from such areas.