Lakewood Covid Testing Initiative: Mass Testing Coming to Lakewood as the Best Way to Keep Our Mosdos Open

The stories out of New York these past few days have been alarming. The fact that a governor can shut down at will yeshivas and businesses, or send inspectors peering into windows or climbing over fences, is chilling. Worse, there is an unsettling feeling that this could come to the Torah communities in New Jersey, too.

There is only one thing we can do to keep the COVID-19 positive rate down and prevent the state from shutting us down — mass testing. Testing is the only proven method of showing that the community is taking COVID-19 regulations seriously. It is the only means of proving that we as a community are responsible and can be trusted in public health matters.

Therefore, at the urging of Lakewood’s rabbanim, roshei yeshiva and doctors, a mass testing drive will be held in the days to come. Testing is safe, it’s secure and it’s the main metric studied by government officials who analyze neighborhood clusters. Additionally, testing is free, even for those without insurance coverage.

It is undeniable that in recent days voices have cropped up sowing confusion and misinformation about testing. There have been wild claims about testing that were debunked by public officials such as Rabbi Avi Schnall of Agudath Israel. We are indeed a generation that grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust, which may explain why our trust in authority is lower than in other communities. When parents are handed long documents to sign on behalf of their children, it is natural to panic.

But here is the truth: Our schools are open because of testing. Our shuls are open because of testing. Our businesses are open because of testing. Mass testing shows that beyond the few sick people who would normally test — artificially pushing up the positivity rates — are the bulk of the community who is not sick with COVID-19 or has developed antibodies that confer immunity.

In New York, authorities began shutting down neighborhoods when positivity rates shot up. When mass testing kicked in and the numbers began going down, the government let up. This is why the gedolim encourage testing — as per the directive of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah and Vaad Roshei Yeshiva of Torah Umesorah, in addition to the state and local governments.

So make sure Lakewood doesn’t get shut down when it could be prevented. Askanim, mechanchim and rabbanim want you to get tested because that’s the only thing that works. It’s the least you could do to keep your kids in yeshiva, the daily minyanim continue in shuls and the Ihr HaTorah’s famed kolle network buzzing.

Get the facts. They are important. Our mosdos are open now solely because testing proved that it is safe to do so. The only way to keep it that way is by continuing to get tested.

[Press Release]

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  1. Mass testing- will provide opportunity for the DOH to do to us what they did in Brooklyn. will they tally the positive AND negative tests. The numbers in NY have been false because
    1. Ppl who didn’t get tested received calls that they tested positive 2. When the DOH came down to urgent cares to tally the results they were only interested in the positive results. They didn’t count the neg. How is that an accurate count?

    So counter to this article, do NOT get tested so noone can mess with the results and choose what yes to count and what not to count. And we don’t feed news to the media. Remain under the radar like we did till now. Get tested- makes headlines- causes lockdown

    In addition- don’t forget, the gov pays for every covid test lots of money.

    There’s more to this ‘recommendation’ than meets the eye.

    • @ jewel – You comment is so ridiculous. If (healthy i.e. negative) people don’t get tested, than only sick people (positive) will be the ones getting tested. That is precisely what happened before Y”T when the positivity rate shot up.
      So claiming that people that think they are negative should not be tested because of an unverified conspiracy theory that in NY they disregarded the negative results is ludicrous.
      additionally, if they disregarded the negative count in NY the positivity rate would be 100% not 7%…
      In the summer when camps required all campers to get tested before coming to camp, thousands of kids got tested and the positivity rate was very low. and contrary to what the conspiracy theorist claim, no one that tested positive got locked up in an undisclosed location…

  2. If you’re going to learn anything from New York it’s this- comply with their rules and you get shut down. Don’t fall for it. Many Rabbanim do not endorse testing perfectly healthy children. Don’t fall for Murphy’s trap.

    • When did NY keep the rules? Have there been any large chassunos since Pesach? Have the children been wearing masks in school? Have people in Shuls all been wearing masks over their mouths and noses? Have Shuls been less than 50% full?

      Please don’t insult our intelligence. People in NY thought they could ignore the rules, and they are currently suffering.
      Don’t copy them in NJ

  3. READ what Anonymous wrote, EVERYBODY! This isn’t about gaming the numbers! It’s about protecting our population! If we finally start doing what we’re supposed to be doing-wearing masks, social distancing-in shul, bais medrash, and school, THAT will bring the positivity rate down going forward! It’s time to be responsible!!

    • went shopping at local grocery store last night. lotsa people there doing shabbos shopping. there was only ONE other person, besides for myself, wearing a mask. and NO-wearing it on your chin or around your neck does NOT count for anything. ashamed of our nation for lack of caring about our fellow yidden.
      don’t cry antisemitism when things get shut down. this is our OWN doing and the achrayus of every single person who steps into a public place without a mask. and don’t claim masking isn’t necessary for people with antibodies. Doctors and Rabbonim have already spoken about possibility of reinfection and the importance of protecting our fellow yidden

      • Thanks for being ashamed! Um, you forgot abt all the rabbonim and doctors who dont hold of wearing a mask. They are writing to the scoop so you dont hear abt them. but they exsist, and they may even be more who hold nay than yes

  4. Not trying to be a conspiracy theorist or something… but does something not make sense here. Why is everyone in Lakewood all of a sudden busy with the positivity rate? It is not referenced at all in the media or mainstream govt data… All they care about are numbers of cases, not the proportion of positive to negative tests… those just indicate increases of school and workplace mandates to tests or possibly increases in hypochondria 🙂

    So testing en masse doesn’t seem helpful as it will undoubtedly raise the actual positive numbers through false positives (not going to argue the % of false positives here but they do occur and very frequently it seems)

    Why can’t testing be utilized for what it was actually intended? By those who experience symptoms or came in contact with a sick person?

  5. I agree with Anonymous at 10:03 AM.
    Testineg is NOT the only proven method to get the positivity rate down. Many other cities do not have a problem with positivity rate and they do not have mass testing, but have done safety precautions.
    If we would take covid 19 seriously, people would take masks and social distancing more seriously Also people who are not feeling well should not go in public and should stay home.. I’ve heard too many stories of people in the street saying “Don’t come near me. I tested positive.”.
    Our schools and businesses are not open because of mass testing, but because other precautions. Mass testing doesn’t get rid of covid, it just circumvents the problem.

  6. Let the insanity continue. Get everyone tested so you have a lower percentage of people showing to have had or have the Chinese virus at this particular time. The numbers are not real nor will they ever be real. That being said if this is what the Looney Toons in Trenton want, flood the testing zones with everyone who’s feeling fine!

  7. Can you please name one doctor that says that mass testing is the ONLY thing that matters? That might be the easiest thing to do but it is not the single thing that doctors have told us to do.

    • When they say the only thing that matters, they are refering to kepping the town open. The Gov office looks at the positivity rate as a key metric. SO even if you wear a mask and are locked up in the basement without coming in contact with anyone etc. (that would help you not catch Covid) but the Gov won’t know that you are a good boy and NEGATIVE if you don’t get tested.
      Right now the only people that are testing are people that feel sick and they want to know if they have Covid or the flu etc.

  8. Keeping our schools open has nothing to do with what works related to the disease. It has everything to do with how the NJ Health Department and the governor are evaluating the COVID positive/negative test statistics in every town, and deciding based on those chosen statistics whether to shut down schools and other to place other restrictions.

    Whether you agree with that method or not, that’s what they’re using. Its not about who or how many have the disease. Its about if many tests are being conducted, and about what percentage of testing is coming back positive or negative.

    They are insisting on constant testing, in schools, so that they can continue to be comfortable with the percentages that we have currently gotten them down to.

    If they see that we arent testing sufficiently (making them feel like they are left in the dark), or if they see that the from the tests that ARE happening there are a high percentage of positive results coming back (which happens if only people feeling sick will test), then they will shut down the schools (as they have in NY)

    The only way to keep our schools open is to keep up testing, and to keep the percentage of negative results high.

    We can all contribute to this effort very simply by continuing to test those that are FEELING WELL. If we dont, then naturally only those that are feeling sick WILL test, and the positive percentages of all tests will rise once again, as they did several weeks ago (up to a shocking 27% positive results!!!) which got us in the statewide news, and almost got our town shut down…

    • I’m sorry, but children aren’t pawns & don’t deserve to be abused for some politically correct bureaucrat’s whim.

      YOU are your children’s only advocate. Don’t force them to be used. The tests are uncomfortable for them & they should not be forced into it especially in a school setting, away from their parents.

      This is absolutely wrong!

  9. We really need to ask ourselves WHY the government wants us to keep testing. Is it only money? compliance? control? I dont know the answer and if the conspiracy therory is correct, but if you care about your life, you could look into it well before signing forms. Also, you may want to call some of those rabbanim who officially endorsed this on the moetzes and vaad. I did and the results were surprising to say the least. Dont beleive a Rav signed something unless you speak to him YOURSELF.

    Who said that this is the only way to keep the community open? And how long are we going to be testing until we decide we had enough and they shut us down anyway? What legal right do they have to shut us down if the numbers are already very low????

    Something is very fishy here…

    • To answer your Q.
      “who said this is only way to keep the community open” – A. The Governor
      What legal right do they have….” – A. they just did that in NY, you can ask the frustrated people that are living thru it right now
      (and who said that the numbers are already low?? if people that are feeling fine don’t want to test the positivity rate numbers will not go down)

  10. Don’t Test. Period.

    But if you must for some reason, do only the spit/saliva test. The nasal test is known to return many FALSE positives.

    Do you want your whole family quarantined and on the government’s radar (and your kids school shut down ch’v) for a FALSE positive?? I sure DON’T!!!!!

  11. one sided story here. you got to think beyond the minute and think why do they want everyone tested? why are they looking to criminalize non mask wearing when the death rate at this point is lower than the annual flu.
    start asking questions!
    they are smarter than you and a better chess player than you. they are thinking 10 steps ahead while you are trying to save one piece on your board. only thinking of keeping your schools open!

  12. COVID May not be killing people like it was earlier in the year, but I personally know people suffering 7 months after the fact with inability to speak properly, pain, shortness of breath and an inability to fully return to work. Sure, they’re not dead, but their health and quality of life is impaired for the better part of a year and who knows how much longer. Everyone just wear a mask and be a good human, geez!

  13. Read comment of “frustated” up top. This is the hard truth.

    Lakewood needs to follow guidelines. That is the way to stop the spread of the disease. Let’s stop trying the game the system by overloading it with tons of useless negative tests.

    If you go down that road and don’t implement guidelines then what will happen is that for a while you may make things look better but when tons of people start getting sick because we aren’t following guidelines, you won’t be able to get enough negative tests to offset the positivity rate.

    Answer this for me:

    Of all the shuls in Lakewood, how many are spacing their chairs and enforcing masking of all mispallelim?

    Of all the yeshivos gedolos in Lakewood, how many are enforcing masking and distancing for their rebbeim and talmidim?

    When people shop, how many shoppers and storekeepers are masked and masked correctly?

    We are deluding ourselves if we think we are being good players.

    If you have symptoms, then by all means get tested. If you are well, don’t bother.

    The testing drive is silly and an insult to our intelligence.

    Let’s stop playing numbers games and start focusing on stopping the spread of the virus.

  14. Alot of propaganda being promoted. Why in the world is Vault Health from NY being contracted to do the testing for Lakewood mosdos. Go check out what they do usually and then maybe you will start thinking twice before complying with government threats.

  15. When there is such a high positivity rate, as was the case in lakewood recently, it is an indication that the infection rate in the area is actually much higher than we realize, because not everyone who has it gets tested. The more people that get tested will enable public health to identify, trace, and isolate individuals who are infectious, thereby lowering the chance for further spread. If the community would wear masks and practice social distancing they would be able to stop this virus from spreading. Until people come to terms with this reality, they will not be able to avoid further outbreaks.

  16. FIrst of all, numbers are generally very flawed for various reasons so it doesn’t mean the numbers are higher than any other place in NJ. In fact, I saw a chart that showed HIGHER numbers in other parts. ALso, Lakewood has 6000 kids go back to public schools when in other places they did not which is also impacting the numbers.
    Second of all for those of you that are scratching your head when you read about masks and tests and wondering how could it be that all the way in October people don’t realize these things don’t work, read up on delusional psychosis. I don’t mean this to make fun of anybody. I think its a real thing going on in mass proportions unfortunatley. Either that, or they really are cut off from all the data and hard facts even from the CDC themselves.

  17. This entire article is one sided and completely misguided.
    Firstly NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT TEFILLAH, having respect for Bais Haknesses/Hamedrash and teshuvah. Hashem the ONLY cure, and everything that happens is for klal Yisroel to learn a lesson from!
    Also…Politicians do NOT define right or wrong, and are NOT medical experts.
    If an expert doesn’t know the answers, they are NOT experts in this area.
    The debate about masks is clear, and knowledgeable medical experts exist on both sides. Let everyone talk to their Rov and doctor to decide what they should do. Wearing a mask ‘lechumra’ is a ‘chumra haba lidei kula’ since it has been PROVEN to increase respiratory and digestive infections and exponentially increases the risk for pneumonia, which is far more lethal than coronavirus. More people already died in 2020 from pneumonia than coronavirus (CDC).
    Many people are getting coronavirus information from the media, Jewish or otherwise, but it is not medical advice in any stretch of halacha, and the mainstream media, google, youtube, twitter, facebook etc are pro-lockdown pro-left-wing-democrats and definitely untrustworthy.
    Mass testing to push down the numbers is wrong simply because the results are not guaranteed, and a positive PCR test, with more than 24-cycle amplification (most labs do 37-40) together with RNA/DNA conversion is over 90% likely to be false according to the nobel-prize winner who created it.
    Chazal say that politicians can’t be trusted. That will never change. Don’t trust them to really care about you.
    Murphy is using whatever numbers he can to keep him in power, and the only way to be aure we don’t cauae problems for ourselves is to stay under the radar. No testing period, and no positives. If someone is sick, stay home until 72+hr no fever/symptoms, like doctors and CDC said in March/April.
    1 unexpected false-positive can chas vsholom shutter shuls, schools, put people out of their parnassah and ruin people’s lives, but someone asymptomatic (aka healthy) is unlikely to spread coronavirus (CDC and thousands of doctors). If someone wants to be paranoid, that is their right, but to shove their paranoia on others is wrong.
    This virus is not as bad as everyone expected, and despite padding the numbers, the current recovery rate is at least 99.98% for those under 70, and over 95% for those over. (CDC).
    Want to do a medical hishtadlus? Eat healthy, sleep properly, get some exercise and maybe take some vitamins.
    Anything else is like buying a lottery ticket for your source of parnassah.
    Hashem can make it happen, but it’s more a miracle than normal ‘teva haolam’.
    Most important: daven with kavana, don’t talk at all in shul, learn halachos of kavod bais hamedrash, and overall teshuva. (A Mussar seder is a nice idea too!) Oh, and we really need to improve the SHALOM department, stop fighting with everyone about your opinion. Let everyone do what they feel makes them safe.

  18. Masks are an unfortunate distraction from the true preventions. The virus is highly contagious and the masks (which are full of germs) don’t help much at all. (I do feel people should wear them, though, to avoid Chillul H-shem.)

    But please don’t only rely on the masks or social distancing (the level of which is needed to truly be helpful is basically impossible unless we all retreat into our own caves for the next few years) for protection. Building up ones immune system – is MUCH more important! And knowing how to properly treat the virus, is too. Real preventions and treatments that work ARE available – do your research and don’t believe the politically motivated lies.

  19. with all due respect to lakewood askanim and roshei yeshiva, such a complex shaila should go straight to harav shmuel kamenetzky shlita to guide klal Yisrael in this scary and unknown matzav
    His psak should then be publicized through video only so everyone sees for themselves what the gadol hador has spoken with out false letters/signatures circulating

  20. As we saw by the recent outbreak at the White House where they tested to death.
    You can’t test your way out of this virus you need to prevent it.

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