AN elderly resident at Jewish Care Victoria’s residential home in Windsor has passed away after contracting COVID-19 last week.
In a statement on Sunday evening, Jewish Care CEO Bill Appleby said the organisation extends its “most heartfelt sympathies to the family of our elder, who sadly passed away overnight.
“Jewish Care have contacted the elder’s family directly to convey our condolences and offer any support we can.”
A total of 23 elders at Jewish Care Victoria’s Hannah & Daryl Cohen Family Building in Windsor and 12 staff members have tested positive to the virus.
Jewish Care said, “All diagnosed elders are stable and are being made as comfortable as possible at the home. They are receiving care from our staff with clinical oversight from our clinical care coordinator, their GPs and Alfred Health in-reach services.
“The diagnosed staff members are quarantining at home.”
The organisation said families were being kept up to date regarding their loved ones’ conditions and “we continue to communicate with all families daily to keep them informed”.
“While we fully appreciate how serious this virus is for vulnerable people, we hope and pray that our elders make a full recovery.”
As a precaution last week, Jewish Care locked down the entire Hannah & Daryl Cohen Family Building.
Residents remain in their rooms and are supported with meals to them there. Each visit to a room sees staff put on a full set of PPE and then remove it before seeing anyone else.
“Clearly, this news will be distressing for our elders, their families and our staff. Jewish Care has deployed appropriate senior leadership and additional resources to the home to assist during this time,” the organisation stated.
Meanwhile, all 111 elderly residents at Jewish Care’s Gary Smorgon House in Caulfield have returned negative COVID-19 results after a worker tested positive for COVID-19. The subcontracted kitchen worker, employed by catering contractor AFACorp, last worked at Jewish Care on July 19.
“Our thoughts are with the AFACorp staff member who is in quarantine at home,” stated Jewish Care Victoria CEO Bill Appleby.
#BREAKING A case of COVID-19 has been diagnosed in a kitchen worker at Jewish Care Victoria’s Gary Smorgon House in Caulfield.
DHHS requested a lockdown of Gary Smorgon House as a precaution until testing of all elders and staff could occur. DHHS coordinated the testing which occurred between July 31 and August 2.
Appleby added, “We will continue to offer supports to all elders, taking every precaution to ensure staff and elder wellbeing. We want to reassure everyone we are working together in a proactive manner to protect our community. I would like to thank our amazing elders, our committed staff, and DHHS for acting swiftly and with an abundance of caution.”
Meanwhile, with stage four restrictions taking over metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, all Jewish schools have been forced into remote learning – including years 11 and 12.
Mount Scopus Memorial College school captains and year 12 students Ramona Chrapot and Raph Lipshut said that upon the heightening threat of coronavirus since the beginning of the year, it became clear that “2020 would not be the expected ‘best year of our lives'”.
“We cannot deny that this year has been challenging; we have missed out on a plethora of school and social events, ones we have longed for since we were children,” they said.
Having resumed ‘Scopus@home’ straight away, and using feedback from the first lockdown period to make online learning even more effective, Mount Scopus principal Rabbi James Kennard told The AJN, “We have to do what we must to keep students, staff and the wider community safe.”
Praising the resilience and positivity of students, staff and parents throughout the pandemic, principal of The King David School (KDS) Marc Light said, “As the whole school moves to this new stage of distance learning, the strength of our unique and precious King David community will be key in ensuring that we pull through this together.”
Musing on the period, KDS year 12 student Ariella Opat relayed, “Many of the aspects that make year 12 so special – such as direct communication with teachers, socialising and studying with others – has been taken away, making it hard to stay motivated.
“While this year has certainly been tough, many of us have found comfort in knowing that while we may feel alone, the whole state is in the same position.”
Yeshivah-Beth Rivkah Colleges principal Dr Shimon Waronker told The AJN that while the best place for learning is in the classroom, the YBR@Home program has evolved into “a fully functioning ‘online school’ offering”, commenting, “Our campuses will continue to support the community in the safest way possible.”
Meanwhile, Bialik College principal Jeremy Stowe-Lindner said the school is currently working to ensure the needs of children of permitted workers and those deemed vulnerable are met.
“At this time, the college is not only focused on ensuring that every class is completed in real time but also on the wellbeing of students, parents, staff and the wider community,” he added.
Despite deeming this period “the most challenging time in the college’s history”, Sholem Aleichem principal Helen Greenberg said the school is “committed to strongly following the regulations, balancing keeping connected, and looking out for each other”.
Further, Leibler Yavneh College principal Cherylyn Skewes urged, “It is essential that we follow the government advice that seeks to keep our students, staff and families safe during this period.”