Lakewood Briefs – February 21, 2021


COVID Update

The number of reported cases of COVID in Lakewood dropped significantly last week to 428 according to the Ocean County Health Department. Last week, had seen 622 reported cases.

A week on the 400’s has not been seen in the town for roughly a month.

In a public letter, the board of Rabbanim charged with advising the community on COVID related matters made note of the fact that in recent weeks the numbers of infections have rivaled the levels seen in September.

The letter urged those who are high risk and suspect they have contracted the virus to test and see if they qualify for monoclonal antibody treatment being coordinated by Lev Rochel Bikur Cholim. It also urged those who have reason to believe they might be carrying the virus to avoid contact with others and warned those who have a high level of medical risk to avoid large gatherings specifically chassunos and other mass celebrations.

Lakewood Bikur Cholim Sends Emergency Packages to Dallas Amid Outage

While much of Texas was suffering from the effects of a long lasting failure of its power and water systems, Lakewood’s Lev Rochel Bikur Cholim stepped in to send over 1,000 food packages to Dallas’ Jewish community.

The food was prepared by a team of Bikur Cholim staff and volunteers in the organization’s kitchen last Wednesday night, finishing in the early morning. The packages filled with food and other essentials were then loaded onto a van which set out to make the 1,500-mile trip to Dallas.

Upon arrival, the packages were distributed under the supervision of Rabbi Bentzi Epstein of Dallas Area Torah Association (DATA) and Rabbi Daniel Ringelheim of Texas Torah Institute (TTI).

“Despite being deprived of heat, the comforting knowledge that they are being cared for by their brethren halfway across the country surely warms their hearts,” read a press release from Lev Rochel.

Assemblyman Thomson Urges Widespread COVID Antibody Testing

Assemblyman Edward Thomson (R-Ocean/Monmouth) called on Governor Phil Murphy to expand COVID antibody testing and the collection of convalescent plasma in an effort to safely re-open more of New Jersey.

“Expanding our antibody testing can be a valuable part of our approach to defeating Covid and reopening our economy which has been devastated by pandemic-related restrictions,” said the Assemblyman “We need to consider any approaches that will help us get ahead of this virus and get back to some degree of normalcy.”

Convalescent plasma has been in use to treat severe COVID cases since the early stages of the pandemic. A recent study by Hackensack Meridian Health demonstrated the efficiency of the treatment.

While emerging strains have thrown some level of doubt as to what extent prior COVID infection will serve as protection in the future, presently most studies show re-infection to remain an uncommon occurrence. As such, Assemblyman Thomson also suggested that widespread antibody testing could be another useful tool in maximizing functionality while the state continues to grapple with the pandemic.

“While we continue our effort to vaccinate large swaths of the population, expanded antibody testing can be used to determine how many people have been infected and recovered so we can more precisely tailor our approach,” said Assemblyman Thomson. “I urge Governor Murphy to utilize every weapon in our arsenal, including antibody testing, as we take on this virus that sickened and taken so many of our fellow residents.”