Beth Jacob Congregation in Oakland (Photo/Facebook)
Beth Jacob Congregation in Oakland (Photo/Facebook)

Contra Costa couple in their 70s, members of Beth Jacob, test positive for coronavirus

Two members of Oakland’s Beth Jacob Congregation who live in Contra Costa County have tested positive for the coronavirus, the congregation’s rabbi confirmed in an email today.

The congregants, a married couple who are in their 70s and in good health, started self-quarantining on March 5 after returning from the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. They were diagnosed with the virus on March 16.

The conference ended on March 3. On March 7, organizers announced that two of the estimated 18,000 attendees had tested positive for coronavirus, and all attendees were asked to self-quarantine at home. By March 12, there were six total known cases among attendees.

The infected couple from Beth Jacob have not had any contact with any member of the congregation since their return from D.C., according to officials at the Orthodox synagogue.

The husband was diagnosed with pneumonia after visiting the hospital on March 16 but has since returned home where he is resting. His wife’s symptoms are not as serious and she has been self-isolating, Albert said.

“We’re concerned, but we’re praying,” Rabbi Gershon Albert told J. “They could use prayers from the broader Bay Area.”

Beth Jacob closed its doors last Friday, but weekday services and classes are being hosted over the synagogue’s Facebook page and Zoom.

Starting today, residents in six Bay Area counties have begun following orders to limit all nonessential travel and stay in their homes for the next three weeks as public health officials work to slow down the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

“At this time,” Albert said, “we are really urging our community to not organize or attend any public gathering.”

Gabriel Greschler

Gabriel Greschler was a staff writer at J. from 2019 to 2021.