A Gizinte Vinter – words that can no longer be taken for granted. As שהחינו was recited on Rosh Hashana night and we were literally thanking Hashem that we made it through the year, it’s with that same Kavana that we daven to Hashem that we stay healthy and safe this year to come.
B”H, over the summer, Lakewood saw almost no Corona cases and went almost 3 months without a single hospitalization for new cases. However, it wasn’t truly a reprieve from COVID as we were dealing with the aftermath of the first wave – including recovered patients suffered later Covid-related repercussions including quite a few cardiac/clot-related and an unfortunate uptick in miscarriages.
As the new school year started in September, and many returned from being in infected areas, we began seeing this unfortunate second wave.
B’h, the second was not a repeat of the first in any way. We have been able to apply the lessons learned to save lives and better manage the illness. With the equipment and knowledge already in hand, we were bh able to assist patients literally the second they had any symptoms and to help them get the proper treatment as they hunkered down in quarantine.
Bikur Cholim’s ability to quickly move needed equipment to Covid patients was greatly enhanced, as a result of our newly built 3,000 sq foot warehouse in the span of a few weeks to house 10,000 pieces of medical equipment which we loan out on a constant basis. Thanks to a donation by Dr. Lebowitz and Mr. Danny Czermak of Specialty Hospital of NJ, this has been a true game-changer for us, as we’re able to help our community with easy access and sufficient inventory at all times.
Covid is still a very serious disease, which can impact all ages. Even with a small percentage of serious cases, as the number of cases grew so did the hospitalizations and deaths R”L. 130 Covid patients have been hospitalized since September 12. B”H 112 were discharged! Tragically, 5 were niftar and our community is dealing with the pain of their loss. There are currently 15 hospitalized, with 6 of them in serious/critical condition.
Throughout the Yom Tov season, the Bikur Cholim hotline has been ringing off the hook with requests. Words can’t describe what the Bikur Cholim staff and volunteers have done and the way that dedicated their entire Y” to the klal by answering the phone every hour – day or night and being in the hospitals to insure the patients were receiving the highest level of care and service..
Throughout this wave, Bikur Cholim has been in constant contact with community physicians, hospitals and Hatzaloh. We have been proactive in getting people to the hospital for treatment – as with lessons learned the hospitals now have the proper options and capacity to treat the virus. The situation has changed from the first wave – patients are now getting proper care and effective treatment regimens.
Our greatest challenges: The understandable hesitations and fear of patients who remember the neglect when the hospital systems were overwhelmed – they’re afraid they won’t get the proper care. This was exacerbated as new cases mounted in September and hospitals again started closing their doors to visitors.
To address these serious concerns, we worked closely with hospitals to ensure a support person for those patients approved for such, and to facilitate 30-minute visitations/family check-ins for many patients. B”H we maintained excellent communications with local hospitals throughout, and have ensured that every patient has a visitor once a day from a member of Bikur Cholim.
Chasdei Hashem, overall the majority of Lakewood patients did well. The efforts our community put into developing and donating plasma were a huge factor in these positive outcomes. The effort paid off tenfold, as every patient entering hospitals within ten days of symptoms received one or two doses within the first 24 hours.
At the request of the Rabbanim, Bikur Cholim has been working closely with the Department of Health to make sure we are adequately testing our community. We tested thousands over Chol Hamoed and continue to do so now. This has allowed our shuls and schools to remain open B”H, and we hope that continued testing will allow us to keep our schools and shuls safe and open as we ride out the second wave.
In order to stop the spread of COVID we must adhere to the guidelines that our health officials and doctors set forth. B”H our community has been working on this, and their vigilance has grown and must continue to. We must take special care to respect our elders and those who are comprised. We have made medical care and other services available to them. To this end, Bikur Cholim has been sending out 1,000’s of delicious, wholesome meals for seniors in conjunction with Meals on Wheels. Bikur Cholim has been sending nurses and medical practitioners to patients’ houses for blood draws and tests, and we are now doing flu shots to the homebound.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Given the restrictions in the hospitals, if you have a relative who goes to the hospital, please call us immediately so we can get you food or other services at 866-905-3020.
As maminim b’nai maminim, we have our eyes and hearts to shamayim continuing to daven for the Geula Shleima and hoping we all have a Gezunte Vinter.