CJE's Response to COVID-19 Pandemic and Vaccine Update—January 22, 2021

January 22, 2021

Dear CJE Clients, Residents, Family Members, and Caregivers:


CJE has already administered the first dose of vaccinations to approximately 185 staff and residents at Lieberman Center during the first week of January. Second doses and a new round of first doses are scheduled at the end of January.  Weinberg Community will begin administering first doses to staff and residents during the first week in February, with the second dose scheduled for three weeks later.  Tamarisk NorthShore’s residents and staff will be included in Weinberg’s vaccination schedule.  PLEASE NOTE: CJE does not have vaccine available for the general public/community.  We recommend that you speak with your physician and check the website of the county or city where you live.

For information about vaccine availability in your area please click here.

We will follow all recommended procedures, per IDPH.  We ask for your patience as we learn more about this evolving situation and recommend that you review the distributed FAQs for more information on the vaccine and how distribution will be prioritized throughout the State of Illinois.

WE WILL CONTINUE TO POST UPDATES ON OUR WEBSITE REGARDING THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE VACCINE THROUGH OUR RESIDENTIAL AND COMMUNITY PROGRAMS.  We will also contact residents, family members, community members and staff directly with updates to our vaccination plans as soon as we have more information to share with you.  

In the meantime, we continue to monitor our COVID-19 situation and are following the recommended guidelines by the State of Illinois, Cook County Health Department, Lake County Health Department, IDPH, IDOA, the CDC and other health regulatory authorities.

Since CJE has so many different programs throughout metropolitan Chicago, we need to be on top of the regulations that impact seniors in a wide variety of settings, whether they are living in their own home in the community or in one of CJE’s buildings, including Weinberg Community for Assisted Living in Deerfield or Lieberman Center for Health and Rehabilitation in Skokie. We continue to have leadership meetings with all our Jewish Federation partners and will let you know when our situation changes.


Bernard Horwich Building

In mid-October, the JCC at BHB welcomed back Fitness Club members. They are currently sending this news via email to their members. However, the JCC is not open to walk-ins and there will be strict policies in place. Most importantly, the Main Entrance will remain locked except for scheduled appointments. The Horwich Building is also a destination for free COVID testing from 11-7 daily.
CJE Employees will continue to use the north side of the Main Entrance to accommodate staff who want to come into the building between 8-9 am and 12:30-1:00 pm during the week. Our temperature and screening protocols will remain the same.
JCC employees will monitor the south side of the Main Entrance to screen and take Fitness Members’ temperatures of those who have made a specific reservation for a workout time.
Their members will have reserved a time period for their workouts to avoid overcrowding of the building.  Like CJE, the JCC will require that all staff and Fitness Members use masks, practice social distancing and be vigilant about building and personal sanitizing.  They do have very specific rules on pool usage, number of people allowed in each class, etc., which has been included in their communications to Fitness Members.
The Early Childhood Program is also operating in the building, but children are masked if they are in the main lobby.


CJE SeniorLife

In the meantime, we do not have immediate plans to open our building to CJE clients.  CJE Staff are always welcome to work at the building during regular hours. Employees are screened and temperatures taken.

  • Although people may see activity around the Horwich JCC Building, CJE continues to be closed to clients, future clients, community members and volunteers until further notice, in accordance with several local, state, and federal guidelines.  In an abundance of caution, and because we serve an especially vulnerable population, we will evaluate the situation daily to determine the best date and procedures for opening our doors for in-person visits. At the appropriate time, CJE will implement a phased re-opening for clients, most likely by appointment only to limit the number of people in our waiting room.
  • Anyone entering the Horwich building for any reason will be asked general questions about their health situation, have their temperatures taken and masks will be required. More details will be posted as the situation evolves.
  • In the meantime, clients and/or future clients can contact our main number 773.508.1000 to have telephonic consultations for consumer assistance, counseling or care management. Documents and letters can be placed into the mailbox on the outside of the JCC/Horwich Building.  
  • Most administrative employees are still working remotely. Some employees have been re-assigned to help in buildings that need assistance. Employees are still prohibited from traveling to CJE’s different buildings to lessen the potential of virus spread.

Throughout CJE, we are also enforcing strict quarantine measure for our staff who have either traveled out of the country and/or to COVID hot spots in the United States. Medical providers such as physicians, nurse practitioners, and hospice professionals are required to COVID test weekly to enter the building.  CJE staff are not allowed to go from building to building unless they have been tested as well. As cases have risen in Cook County and the rest of Illinois, we continue to enact protocols to keep everyone safe.


Lieberman Center and Weinberg Community

IDPH has issued new guidance for nursing homes (but not Assisted Living) regarding testing and we are following all requirements. We are on a regular schedule to test residents and staff at both buildings.


At Weinberg

We have experienced several COVID cases among staff and residents during the second surge in November/December, in alignment with the rise in cases throughout northern Illinois. The State of Illinois has placed our geographic location in Tier 3, which means that we are back to more strict regulations relating to group dining, outside visits and trips, group activities, and beauty services. All staff and residents are tested regularly, per IDPH recommendations. Weinberg residents and family members receive a Call Em All every time there are new cases in the buildings.  Thankfully, there appears to be a slowing down of cases at both Gidwitz Place and Friend Center and we can now begin accepting new residents at both buildings.

In November, we had up to 40 residents of Friend Center test positive.  We currently have 1-2 cases. Several residents required hospitalization and we had several deaths.  We knew from the beginning that any cases at the Friend Center might result in a rapid spread as our ability to quarantine these residents is very difficult.  We are doing everything we can to minimize additional spread.  

We have shut down any small group activities, closed the dining rooms, suspended all family visits, and increased the frequency of testing.  Gidwitz residents remain quarantined in their apartments. We will also ask that residents stay in the building for the holidays to prevent exposure by well-intentioned family members.  We are planning new ways to enjoy the holidays while remaining physically apart from loved ones.

Adult Day Services in Deerfield remains closed.

We continue to provide PPE without any limitations to our staff, which has been the case from the beginning. They have adequate supplies of N95 masks, gowns, gloves, etc.

All residents and staff are screened for symptoms daily.

  1. Any COVID cases are reported to the community within 12 hours.
  2. Additional handwashing, sanitation of common areas being done routinely.
  3. PPE is being used and distributed as needed.
  4. Any resident with signs or symptoms of COVID-related illness will be isolated.


At Lieberman

Regretfully, we also saw a rise at Lieberman Center during the November/December surge. This building is in Tier 3 as well.  This means that we have suspended dining room services, closed the barber/beauty shop, and are limiting activities to groups of 1-4 residents. Residents with coronavirus or anyone who has to quarantine for other reasons are kept on separate wings of the building.

Due to early mitigation measures taken by the State of Illinois, indoor visitations had already been suspended.
The health and safety of our residents and staff is our priority. Weekly testing of employees has been ongoing and we have resumed weekly testing our residents.

Life Enrichment activities are continuing on a person-to-person basis or virtually.
Residents and family members receive a Call Em All directly if there is a change in the number of residents/staff with COVID.


Community-Based Services

Adult Day Services in Evanston has moved to its new temporary headquarters at Village Center, 5120 Galitz in Skokie. Although it re-opened for a few days in November, it is now closed until further notice due to IDOA Guidelines.
In the meantime, the Evanston location is being renovated. This exciting project will modernize and incorporate the Evanston ADS program into a new affordable housing apartment building complex that will break ground by the end of the year.  ADS Deerfield (at Friend Center) remains closed.  

More home-delivered meals than ever are being brought to frail or homebound individuals. Volunteers who deliver meals have been given new protocols that practice social distancing and prevent them from entering any homes. Masks and gowns are provided to them. In addition, an increasing number of our regular volunteers have been calling hundreds of homebound clients, providing friendly “wellness checks,” which is just one way for seniors in our community to feel less isolated during this time.

All staff at Lieberman Center, Weinberg Community and designated community-based services, have been provided with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) throughout the pandemic, without limitations. Those employees working with confirmed or suspected cases are given high levels of PPE, such as N95 masks, shields, etc.

We continue to be very innovative in re-imagining many of our programs so we can provide clients and residents with telehealth counseling and streaming life enrichment classes.  Checkout some of our Cyber Club classes which are also available to community members—https://www.cje.net/cyberclub .

Now for some more positive news:  Our new independent living community in Deerfield, Tamarisk NorthShore, is open and residents have been moving into their apartment homes. The first floor living room, with a gorgeous fireplace where people will mingle, is furnished and is a sight to behold.  You can make an appointment for an individual or digital tour now by calling Paisley Valentincic at 847.597.8772.  Check out the Tamarisk website for a virtual tour, tamarisknorthshore.com, to learn more and to read about its specific precautions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

We are thankful for your patience, trust and support during this difficult time. Hopefully, things are starting to look brighter after the holidays which will be challenging for everyone, but I will continue to stay in touch via our website, eblasts or phone calls to let you know of any significant changes or developments.


Stay safe and be well,



Dan Fagin
President & CEO, CJE SeniorLife




Vaccine Information for General Public

The vaccination process is well underway in Illinois, as the State is using the following strategy to determine who gets the vaccination when.

Phase 1a:            

  • Healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities

Phase 1b:            

  • Frontline essential workers – outside healthcare (e.g. first responders, education, food and agriculture, corrections, the U.S. Postal Service, public transit, and grocery stores)
  • People aged 65 and older  

Phase 1c:             

  • People aged 65-74 years of age
  • People aged 16-64 with “high risk medical conditions”
  • Other “essential” workers

Phase 2:               

  • “All other person’s ages 16 and older not already recommended for vaccinations in Phases 1a, 1b, or 1c.”

Illinois is currently in Phase 1a and will be transitioning to Phase 1b on Monday January 25th. When this happens, the vaccine will start being offered at various locations in communities. For more information, please visit: IDPH COVID-19 Vaccine FAQS


As you, your family and friends, prepare to hopefully receive the vaccine, we would like to share information about how to remain up-to-date on the status of vaccine distribution in your area.

General public sign-up to be notified of vaccine distribution for non-healthcare workers:

Call City of Evanston: 847.448.4311 or go to: Evanston Vaccine Interest Survey

Call Village of Skokie: 847.779.7726 or pre-register at: Skokie Vaccine Pre-registration

Call Chicago Department of Public Health: 312.746.4835 or go to: Chicago COVID Coach

Cook County:
For Suburban Healthcare/Essential Workers and Residents, go to: COVID Vaccination Survey

Lake County:
      Lake County AllVax Portal