KJ doc predicts thousands of coronavirus cases in village

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MONROE – A Monroe doctor who treats patients from Kiryas Joel said nine of the first 14 tests for coronavirus that he performed on residents have come back positive.

The tests were done two days before, said Dr. Vladimir Zelenko.

He posted a video saying that the way the virus spreads it will infect a large part of the population.

“Probably by now, and if not by now, in the next day or two, 90 percent of the population in Kiryas Joel will have the coronavirus, but that is what is going to happen,” he said. “That’s around 35,000 people; 35,000 people in a one-square-mile area.”

Dr. Zelenko said there are approximately 1,000 vulnerable residents who could be severely impacted by the virus.

He did not return a phone call for further comment.

Governor Cuomo, earlier in the day Thursday, said he was unaware of any clusters of the virus in Kiryas Joel.

The Town of Palm Tree and Village of Kiryas Joel have imposed emergency resolutions to protect the residents during the public health crisis from the coronavirus.

“The actions taken today by our leaders, even beyond the demands of state government, will hopefully contribute to the overall health of the community,” said Palm Tree Administrator Gedalye Szegedin.

As per the governor’s orders, public and private schools in the town are closed and the religious leaders in the town have instituted “a most aggressive complete lockdown” of all synagogues, ritual bath houses and all other centers for prayer, libraries and study halls, in order to avoid large gatherings in the community.

Town/village officials said this is the first time in the over 40-year history of Kiryas Joel that these religious sites were locked down from public access.

Szegedin applauded the work of KJ Hatzolah Volunteer EMS, Ezra Choilim Health Center, the KJ Public Safety Department, fire department and Chaverim, which assists residents in a variety of non-emergency services, Bikur Choilim, which assists families that are hospitalized, Tomchei Shabbos, which sends food packages to the needy