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With the elderly particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus, Jewish senior facilities in the Bay Area have implemented stricter policies to keep their residents safe.
On Monday, the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living announced they are restricting visitors until further notice. In addition, staff and other personnel will be screened before entering the facility. Meetings and off-campus group activities have been postponed for two weeks.
“We know that these protocols will be challenging for everyone involved, but safety is our ultimate concern,” spokesperson Marcus Young said in a statement.
In Silicon Valley, the Moldaw Residences in Palo Alto also was taking additional precautions. Communal dining has been suspended, and all prepared meals are either delivered or available for residents to pick up.
“It’s frightening and very upsetting,” said 91-year-old Gisa Oloff, a Moldaw resident.
Before entering the facility, visitors are asked if they have traveled to certain high-risk countries, if they’ve had any respiratory symptoms, or if they’ve knowingly come into contact with someone with the coronavirus. If any of the answers are “yes,” entry is denied, spokesperson Kitty Haag said.
In Danville, the Reutlinger Community’s skilled-nursing facility has been under quarantine since Feb. 27 because of an unrelated influenza outbreak affecting several seniors who have since recovered.
Residents in the assisted-living wing of the facility finally were able to leave their rooms today. All visitors will have their temperatures taken and asked a number of questions related to recent travel, according to Reutlinger CEO Jay Zimmer.
Some seniors are not as concerned about the threat of the coronavirus.
“At this point in my life, I just think what’s going to happen is going to happen,” said 87-year-old Dorothy Auerbach, who lives at Rhoda Goldman Plaza in San Francisco, a senior home that has implemented a number of protective measures. Dorothy, who lives with her husband, Hal, said the virus hadn’t changed her daily habits.
“I’m not curtailing my life. That seems counterproductive,” the Jewish senior said. “I have not much time left. I don’t want to waste it on something that might not happen.”
Around the Bay Area, dozens of synagogues, Jewish schools and organizations have canceled services, Purim events and lectures to mitigate the risk of spreading the virus.
As of Monday afternoon, there were 551 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States. Of the 22 people who have died, 16 were associated with a senior home in Kirkland, Washington, a Seattle suburb.