June 22, 2024
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June 22, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

What a Difference a Year Makes

(Courtesy of St. Mary’s General Hospital) Last year for Chanukah, St. Mary’s General Hospital hosted the first-ever (of what we hoped would be many to come) menorah lighting event in front of the Kotel at Night in Passaic. The group then followed the blue stars and Chanukah banners to the hospital cafeteria where the hospital staff had a special magic show program especially for the children along with gifts and jelly doughnuts.

And for the eight days of Chanukah, the menorah was lit faithfully. Then came winter, spring and COVID-19! And quarantine on March 14, 2020 when the country and most of the world shut down.

Throughout this ordeal, St. Mary’s General Hospital and other hospitals went into overtime, treating hundreds of patients during this pandemic. Sadly, Hashem took some of these patients, some while in the hospital and some who didn’t make it to the hospital.

And the pandemic is not over, as a second wave is upon us with higher counts and more deaths. New Jersey has the highest number of COVID deaths in the country, and Passaic County has the most COVID cases in the state.

“So far, the number of patients admitted to the hospital has not been as high as it was in during the height of COVID-19,” said George Matyjewicz, PhD, community liaison at St. Mary’s General Hospital. “But that could change as the number of cases rises each week. Clifton Mayor James Anzaldi sends me updates for Clifton which I then send to our kehila. The highest number of cases in Clifton was the week of April 19 and the low the week of July 5. However, this last week ending November 22 was the fourth highest number of cases and it has been steadily climbing each week since mid-October! Yes, a vaccine is supposed to be coming at the end of the year, iy’H, which will be given to healthcare workers and first responders, then the elderly. The general population will probably not get the vaccine until the spring of 2021.”

St. Mary’s General Hospital has been working diligently over the past year and a half to accommodate the Orthodox Jewish community and the hard work paid off, in spite of this pandemic. Staff understands that the community has special needs for Shabbos and Yom Tovim as well as day-to-day requirements and the staff works hard to accommodate patients. Patients who need Shabbos candles, glatt kosher food, Shabbos accommodations or any other requirement will be accommodated at St. Mary’s General.

“This year we will not have a public menorah lighting,” said Matyjewicz. “Maybe we will have it on Zoom as we will with our Annual Public Meeting which will be on December 2. There will be a menorah and Kotel in Passaic once again this year.”

St. Mary’s General Hospital will continue to serve the community with non-COVID care as always. “Your safety and well being is our top priority,” said CEO Ed Condit. “We are taking all necessary measures and precautions to protect the safety of our patients and staff and we are open for business.”

“On a personal note, last year before Chanukah, my wife Phyllis had double-bypass open heart surgery at St. Mary’s General,” said Matyjewicz. “B”H we are happy to report that she is doing marvelously and up and about like nothing ever happened. She still tells people about the excellent care she had before, during and after the procedure. To us, that was our personal Chanukah miracle!”

St. Mary’s General Hospital is nationally recognized and locally preferred among the top hospitals in America for health, quality, and patient safety! The hospital has over 550 physicians and 1,200 employees, with every staff member committed to providing respectful, personalized, high-quality care to satisfy patients’ needs and exceed their expectations. St. Mary’s General is a proud member of Prime Healthcare, which has won more Patient Safety Excellence Awards for five consecutive years (2016-2020) than any other health system in the country, including a “Top 15 Healthcare System” by Truven Health Analytics. o learn more about St. Mary’s General Hospital visit https://www.smh-nj.com/ or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/StMarysGeneral.

For more information, please contact George Matyjewicz, PhD, community liaison, at [email protected]

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