Editor's note: Teaneck Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin shared on Motzei Shabbat, March 14, that Teaneck currently has 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19, six of which are in the ICU. And 40 more patients under observation. All of the patients are at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck.
As many of you have seen and heard, our mayor has requested all residents to self-quarantine.
Ahead of a formal announcement tomorrow, and as social media, phone, text and WhatsApps are “ringing” off the hook, I wanted to put my thoughts together to define the word “self-quarantine." Please keep in mind at this time this is NOT a mandate but a voluntary step.
As the number of COVID-19 patients being treated at Holy Name Medical Center has risen, we are asking that the members of our Teaneck community begin to self-quarantine to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Slowing the spread of the coronavirus is our community's only hope to avoid overwhelming our medical system. While hand-washing and sanitizing is helpful, this disease is communicated person-to-person, and the less social interactions we have, the slower it will be able to spread.
Our highest chances of slowing the spread of this virus is when the infection rate in our general population is still low. If we wait for our infection rates in Teaneck to rise before taking these preventative measures, they will not be effective.
We need to take proactive steps at social distancing because that is known to flatten the curve.
We can’t possibly know every place everyone has been with any degree of certainly.
Let’s put our collective energies into doing what we can to help the greatest number of people.
To that end, some practices of self-quarantine include:
• When you do have to go out in the community for groceries or medicine, only one member of the household should go, and he/she should practice Social Distancing, and maintain a 6-foot distance from all other individuals.
• Reduce and eliminate unnecessary trips.
• Make required travel done by a single person.
• We will be asking our food establishments to be takeout and delivery only
• Movie theaters and gyms will be closed.
• Many house of worship, under request from their religious leaders, have closed
• Many employees are working from home. Please ask your employer if you can.
Today the New York Times quoted Dr. Carter Mecher, a senior medical adviser for public health at the Department of Veterans Affairs and a former director of medical preparedness policy at the White House during the Obama and Bush administrations. We think his metaphor is helpful in understanding our situation. "A fire on your stove you could put out with a fire extinguisher, but if your kitchen is ablaze, that fire extinguisher probably won’t work. Communities that pull the fire extinguisher early are much more effective.”
As a reminder, the CDC’s tips for preventing the spread of infections include:
• Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap or clean them with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Stay home if you feel sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; if tissue is not available then cough/sneeze into your bent elbow.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Please monitor your own health and be aware of the symptoms of COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
• Shortness of breath
If you think you may have COVID-19, first contact your doctor before going to the hospital.
According to the CDC, if you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 you should get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include, but are not limited to:
• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
• Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
• New confusion or inability to arouse
• Bluish lips or face
Please stay tuned for more formal information from the township tomorrow.