We have just received presumed confirmation of a single case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) within a segment of Houston’s Jewish community. The Coronavirus test was conducted on a visitor to Houston. It was completed by the State of Texas and came back last night as positive. The State considers the test result “presumptive” and is sending the test to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for confirmation. 
Out of an abundance of caution, Torah Girls Academy, Yeshiva Torat Emet, and Torah Day School – the schools with one or more students who might possibly have been exposed – will be closed on Thursday, March 12th. Administrators and leadership at these schools are working closely with the City of Houston and Harris County’s Health Departments and have indicated they will follow their guidance on notification, closure, and self-quarantine recommendations.
While the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston is providing access to guidance and best practices to support our community’s institutions, it is up to each organization to make the decisions which are in the best interests of its constituents. Most organizations have been making changes necessary to continue operations while protecting the people they serve.
Yesterday afternoon, the City of Houston declared it will implement “Health Emergency” status for the city for the next seven days. After seven days, Houston City Council will vote on extending the status.
This means that all events produced, co-sponsored, and permitted by the City of Houston will be canceled for the remainder of the month of March. At this time, however, school is not canceled, and city employees are still expected to work.
The City’s stated reason for this change is that there is now evidence of one confirmed case of “community spread” of Covid-19 in Montgomery County. This is not cause for alarm, but it does trigger further evaluation of events and interactions within the general community.
Because infectious diseases are dynamic and can rapidly change, there is no “one size fits all” approach when deciding whether to suspend programming. Therefore, it is essential to regularly check-in with local authorities.
Suspension of Federation programs and events would begin when advised by local officials. Given the presumptive positive case within our community, out of an abundance of caution, we will, for the time being, begin canceling programming for events with more than 50 people planned in attendance.
As this Coronavirus situation continues to develop, when we know facts which are relevant to share with our community, we at the Federation will continue to do so. 

For the moment, we extend a refuah shleimah , a full recovery, to the ill, and we wish for continued strength as a community. The next few weeks will undoubtedly be difficult for those in quarantine and those who will need to make adjustments to their everyday routines and activities. We encourage you to join with us in continuing to express our collective compassion, caring, and patience as we support one another through this challenging time.

We wanted to also provide you with links to the following local, national and international resources on the outbreak: