Greenwich COVID-19 Update
By Richard Kaufman
With COVID-19 continuing to surge around the country and in the state of Connecticut, Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo and Greenwich Hospital President, Diane Kelly, have resumed weekly briefings on the virus.
On Wednesday, the two officials urged residents to keep their guard up as the holidays approach.
“We’re now at the doorstep of Thanksgiving with Christmas, and Hanukkah and New Years right behind that. While we certainly want people to get out there and enjoy themselves, and we’re all happy and excited about the positive news on the vaccine front, that’s still several months away,” Camillo said. “I liken it to a nine inning baseball game and we’re in the bottom of the sixth, top of the seventh in a tight ballgame. We don’t want to lose focus and take our eye off the ball, because these next few months are going to be pretty tough.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 104 active COVID-19 cases in the Town of Greenwich, with a 14 day rolling average of 11.5 per 63,000 — the town’s population. Since the pandemic began, 1,367 residents have tested positive.
At Greenwich Hospital as of Wednesday afternoon, there were 18 patients being treated, with none in the Intensive Care Unit. Kelly attributed this to the fact that the hospital staff has learned a lot about the virus and which protocols to run patients through since the pandemic began.
“We’re keeping people out of the ICU with the great work of our clinicians and working with the entire Yale New Haven Health System and on the protocols and treatments. Patients are doing well and they’re being transferred home and discharged home in much greater numbers than before. The 18 that we have in today is not the same kind of look you would have seen in those early months. It’s a very different experience for the patients,” Kelly said.
Kelly also said that Greenwich Hospital was well-prepared to handle this new wave of COVID-19.
“This wave is not an unexpected wave. We have been watching our trends since the beginning of the first surge,” she added. “We had a whole group of people behind the scenes estimating when we would see an increase, so this is about the time they had estimated we would see this for a lot of different reasons.”
Kelly noted that while there’s fatigue with social distancing and wearing masks, she’s encouraging everyone to stay the course and follow those guidelines.
“It worked and it works. It’s especially important people pay attention to that as the holidays come. It’s going to be really tempting to want to be in larger groups, but it’s not in the best interest for you as individuals and for us as a collective society,” she said.
Testing sites around the country have been clogged with long lines in recent weeks, and while Kelly said testing is “everybody’s biggest challenge right now”, Greenwich Hospital is meeting public demand; they’re currently conducting close to 200 tests per day at their outpatient drive-thru site.
“Even though you’re coming in your car, we’re asking you to register online first so that we are not registering too many people at once, so we don’t have cars circling the building. We’re controlling that by knowing when you’re coming in, so we can accomodate,” Kelly said. “As a nation, testing is something we are all watching closely.” Registration for testing can be found on the Greenwich Hospital website.
Camillo praised Greenwich Hospital for doing a “terrific job.” He said he’s open to discussion on looking at town COVID-19 policies and restrictions to see if they need adjustment, especially since Greenwich was recently labeled as a “red zone” by the state due to a spike in cases.
“We’re looking at capacity levels [at parks and beaches]. We had lots of people converging on the beach over the last few weekends and it was well over the limit, so we are going to be addressing that shortly,” Camillo said. “We won’t be closing anything down right now, we want people to be outside and active. But we want them to do so safely and not be on top of each other.”
Greenwich COVID-19 briefings will take place every Wednesday through Jan. 6, 2021.