Congregants Self-Quarantine After Rabbi In NY Coronavirus Outbreak Visits Passaic Synagogue

A Westchester rabbi at the center the New York metropolitan area's coronavirus outbreak visited a synagogue in Passaic last week, city health officials confirmed.

Agudas Yisroel Bircas Yaakov of Passaic Park
Agudas Yisroel Bircas Yaakov of Passaic Park Photo Credit:

An undisclosed number of congregants of Agudas Yisroel Bircas Yaakov in the Passaic Park section of town are self-quarantining for two weeks since Tuesday's visit, Daily Voice has learned.

This came after Passaic city health officials asked that anyone who had close contact with the rabbi self-quarantine until March 16 -- defining close contact as being within six feet of the rabbi for 10 minutes or more.

They emphasized that they didn't have any confirmed presumptive COVID-19 cases as of Saturday.

Those who become symptomatic were asked to contact their primary care provider. Anyone who was present but didn't have close contact should monitor for symptoms and contact their primary care provider if anything develops, city health officials added.

Young Israel of New Rochelle has become a ground zero of sorts for the coronavirus in the New York metropolitan area. 

Although Rabbi Reuven Fink of Young Israel publicly announced in a letter to his community on Friday that he'd tested positive for COVID-19, Passaic city health officials didn't identify him by name in Saturday's community alert.

SEE: A Letter From the NY Rabbi with Coronavirus

A Manhattan attorney and members of his family who attend Young Israel have all tested positive for the coronavirus, authorities have said.

Both Fink and an Englewood lawyer who works with the attorney in Manhattan were believed to have contracted the virus from him.

SEE: NJ's 2nd Presumed Coronavirus Patient Released From Englewood Hospital And Medical Center

The Frisch School in Paramus will remain closed until at least Wednesday because dozens of students attended a bat mitzvah at Young Israel last month.

SEE: Potential Coronavirus Exposure Temporarily Closes Paramus Private Day School

New Jersey health officials on Wednesday also asked anyone who attended religious events at Young Israel on Feb. 22-23 to self-quarantine until this Sunday.

“We still have a way to go in handling our communal situation," Fink wrote on Friday. "Together we can persevere and triumph over these challenges."

State officials said four New Jerseyans have tested positive for COVID-19 --three in Bergen County and one in Camden County.

Two live in Englewood, one in Fort Lee and another in Cherry Hill, they said.

Passaic city health officials said hey are "following New Jersey Department of Health protocols and guidelines."

Worldwide, more than 3,100 deaths from more than 93,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported, mostly in China, with 10 reported dead in the U.S. of 100 or so confirmed cases, the Centers for Disease Control said.

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