Covid-19 Virus – Dear Community Members

March 20, 2020

Dear Community Members,

In an effort of provide you with a unified medical response to the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Louis area Rabbonim (rabbis) have established a board of medical experts to help you address issues that have become crucial to your personal well-being and that of the community at large. We intend to provide you with updated community news and guidelines on a frequent, if not daily, basis. We are taking our lead from our Rabbonim, the CDC, best medical evidence, and clinical experience.

We are now aware of individuals within our St. Louis Jewish Community who have definitely had direct exposure to others who have tested positive for COVID-19. These exposed individuals must self-quarantine for no less than 14 days. Family members of such individuals must maintain social distancing within the home. We advise that all people, even those who feel well, who are travelling or have recently traveled to St. Louis from areas with community transmission STAY HOME. If work is essential, try to remain alone and observe social distancing. Avoid all non-essential interactions with non-household members. This recommendation pertains to everybody travelling from the entire northern and Mid-Atlantic east coast and from Israel, as well as other known COVID-19 hot spots. The seriousness with which you take these recommendations will play a large role in our success against this highly contagious disease.

To protect our community, cancel all guests intending to travel to St. Louis from the areas mentioned above. Anyone > 60 years old or with an underlying chronic disease including but not limited to heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes, is at particularly high risk of a poor outcome should they become infected.

Follow the enclosed ABC Guidelines to determine whether you or a family member must quarantine. The main symptoms to watch for are COUGH, SHORTNESS OF BREATH and FEVER.

In addition, new information indicates that DIGESTIVE SYMPTOMS of diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain can be the first sign of illness. Therefore, new onset respiratory symptoms OR digestive symptoms OR fever alone should self-quarantine and contact their physician. St. Louis area Rabbonim have ruled that these recommendations carry the full weight of Halachah due to the current situation of sakanas nefashos in our community. Individuals deviating are endangering their own lives and the lives of others.

Thank you for your tremendous effort and sacrifice as we, with Hashem’s help, limit the spread of this disease and protect all members of our community. We are hopeful that a clear time limit on these restrictive recommendation becomes apparent very soon.

COVID-19 Saint Louis Jewish Medical Advisory Board (additional doctors to be added soon),

Dr. Daniela Hermelin
Dr. Yochanan Silverman
Dr. Greg Storch
Dr. Craig Reiss