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Five new New York coronavirus cases are from Jewish New Rochelle family

New York’s five new cases of coronavirus come from a Jewish family in Westchester County whose three children attend a Jewish day school, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters Wednesday.

The father of the family is friends with New York’s second confirmed case of coronavirus, a 50-year-old lawyer from New Rochelle. The lawyer is being hospitalized in New York; his two children also tested positive for the disease and are quarantined at home.

The second family, also under quarantine at home, sends their children — two sons and one daughter — to Westchester Torah Academy, a co-ed Modern Orthodox yeshiva in White Plains, according to Cuomo. The school was one of three Jewish schools in the New York area, including Westchester Day School and SAR Academy, that closed on Tuesday amid concerns of spread from the family of the New Rochelle lawyer. The New Rochelle lawyer’s teenage daughter attends SAR’s high school, while his son attends Yeshiva University in Manhattan.

The schools are planning to stay closed through at least the end of the week, and Westchester Torah Academy will likely reconsider whether it will stay closed for longer, Cuomo said.

The news of the second family with coronavirus brings New York State’s total infection count to 11.


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Cuomo said that the father in the second family likely contracted coronavirus from the New Rochelle lawyer after being in “close proximity in a number of situations” with the man. The New Rochelle lawyer also infected a neighbor who drove him to the hospital.

Cuomo said that the number of cases will increase exponentially as more people begin to show symptoms and seek testing. The New Rochelle lawyer may have spread the virus already to hundreds of people at Shabbat services, a bat mitzvah and a funeral he attended last week at his synagogue, Young Israel of New Rochelle. The synagogue has been closed until Sunday.

“Just take one of these situations — the person went to a bar mitzvah, and talked to a hundred people at the bar mitzvah,” Cuomo said. “They go home, and they have five people in their home.”

Congregants of the Young Israel synagogue are being asked to self-quarantine.

Ari Feldman is a staff writer at the Forward. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @aefeldman

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