March 25, 2020
The following are guidelines and precautions necessary to protect chevra kadisha members from possible transmission of COVID-19 as they perform a taharah.
These guidelines were updated on March 25, 2020. Changes are noted in RED
In light of the growing COVID-19 health crisis, and in response to questions from many chevros kadisha, NASCK is suggesting the following set of protocols be followed.
These protocols are based on the best available information from the CDC
at this time. NASCK has also consulted with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
in NYC and other infectious disease specialists including Rabbi Dr Aaron Glatt
, Hospital Epidemiologist and Chief of the Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai South Nassau Community Hospital. Rabbi Dr Glatt also serves as the Associate Rabbi at Congregation Anshei Chesed and Assistant Rabbi at the Young Israel of Woodmere.
In addition, these protocols were also discussed with and approved by rabbonim and poskim across the spectrum of the frum community.
This information will be updated as required.
There are two distinct areas of concern with regard to possible transmission of COVID-19
during the taharah process:
a) Potential transmission from the body itself
(whether or not the person had tested positive for coronavirus).
b) Potential transmission from the chevrah members
to each other because of the close proximity in which they perform a taharah.
GUIDELINES NECESSARY TO PROTECT FROM POTENTIAL TRANSMISSION FROM THE BODY OF THE NIFTER/ES:
1. Strictly follow the list of universal precautions
recommended by the CDC and OSHA. These include use of:
Disposable gloves (Nitrile or Latex are recommended)
Full-length disposable gowns that cover the arms to the wrist
Face masks. This is now mandatory. Any surgical mask is sufficient. People with glasses who may find that some masks fog their glasses, should find a mask that allows them to breathe without fogging.
Face shields should be worn either attached to the mask or separately.
Additional personal protection equipment (PPE) is optional, including booties and head covers. If one is wearing open shoes, foot covers (booties) are mandatory.
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