Monsey residents may have been exposed to coronavirus at community events

The caterers worked at two events in Monsey: at 150 Remsen Avenue on February 28 and 29, and at the Atrium Ballroom catering hall on March 2, before testing positive.

A man in a face mask rides the subway in Manhattan, New York City, after further cases of coronavirus were confirmed in New York, U.S., March 5, 2020. (photo credit: ANDREW KELLY / REUTERS)
A man in a face mask rides the subway in Manhattan, New York City, after further cases of coronavirus were confirmed in New York, U.S., March 5, 2020.
(photo credit: ANDREW KELLY / REUTERS)
Monsey residents “may have been exposed” to novel coronavirus after two caterers tested positive after working at gatherings in the area, the Rockland County Health Department warned.
A man and a woman from Ramapo worked two events in Monsey before testing positive for the virus, according to The New York Post. The Rockland County Health Commissioner therefore warned that anyone who were in attendance at the following locations may have been exposed to COVID-19: 150 Remsen Avenue on Friday, February 28, between 11 a.m. and 11:45 p.m.; the same location on Saturday, February 29, between 11:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.; and at the Atrium Ballroom, a catering hall on March 2 between 2:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
The two worked at a bat mitzvah on February 23 at the Temple Young Israel in New Rochelle, Westchester County, which was attended by attorney Lawrence Garbuz, 50. His exposure has since been linked to over two dozen cases, including three members of his family and the synagogue’s rabbi, Reuven Fink.
Having learned of their exposure at the bat mitzvah the two were in quarantine, then fell ill and went to a hospital in Rockland County, Rockland Journal News reported.
“It was previously believed that these infected individuals had not worked as caterers during these events and it was only through the detective work of one of our investigators that this discovery was made,” Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert said on Sunday.
In an email, Ruppert warned that those who attended the events in Monsey may therefore “have been exposed to coronavirus.”
She added: “Any person who believes they may have been exposed should contact their health care provider by phone right away. I also ask that anyone who becomes ill with this disease be completely forthcoming with our investigators, it is only with your help that we can prevent the spread of this disease.”
So far, Rockland County has had four positive cases confirmed, including the two caterers, although 22 people are being monitored while in quarantine.
The number of confirmed cases across New York State was at 106 on Monday, with around 4,000 people isolated in their homes as a precaution.
Scarsdale, a suburb in Westchester County, has closed all of its public schools until March 18 after a teacher tested positive. With 98 confirmed coronavirus cases, Westchester County has seen the most cases in New York state, followed by New York City with the next largest cluster of 19 confirmed cases, followed by 17 cases confirmed in Nassau County.
Manhattan High School for Girls, a Jewish school in New York City has also closed until next week; nearly 200 girls from the school have been quarantined following contact with a teacher who tested positive. The Department of Health announced that the quarantine applies to students who don’t have classes with the teacher, but participated in an afternoon prayer session in the same room as her on Monday, March 2, Yeshiva World reported.
A state of emergency was announced by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Saturday, who said: “I’m not urging calm, I’m urging reality. I’m urging a factual response as opposed to an emotional response.”
His words were echoed by the volunteer emergency medical services organization, Hatzalah of New York, which has encouraged people to cancel Purim parties in a bid to stymie the spread of the disease.
“We are currently seeing an increase in community spread of the virus. Therefore, we are advising and encouraging you to cancel any large gatherings of people, if possible, including on Purim. The virus spreads between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets, much like the common cold or flu,” Chevra Hatzalah said in a statement.
Advising the community on hygiene measures, including washing hands frequently, they added: “Chevra Hatzalah’s Executive Board and Medical Board are closely following the latest COVID-19 updates. Hatzalah members are trained and equipped to respond to suspected cases of COVID-19. If you have minor symptoms, call your doctor. If you have significant symptoms, call Hatzalah. If in doubt, do not hesitate to call Hatzalah.”