GREENWICH COVID-19 UPDATE: 31 Confirmed Cases; Hospital Ups ICU Capacity

UPDATE: Governor Lamont announced that public schools would be closed until at least April 20, 2020. “We will continue to monitor the situation and will inform you of any other updates that we receive,” Dr. Toni Jones, Greenwich Schools superintendent said in an email to parents on Monday afternoon.

Original story: As of Monday at 4:00pm, the State reported COVID-19 numbers total 415 laboratory confirmed cases, up 27% over Sunday.

Fairfield County comprises 270, or 65%, of that number.

State-wide, 10 individuals have died with 6 of those in Fairfield County.

Westport continues to report the most infections, rising to 74 Monday.

Greenwich has 31 (up from 25 on Friday).

Stamford has 30 and Norwalk 28.

The greatest number of diagnosed cases is in the 40-49 year old age group, followed by those aged 50-59.  Hospitalizations are highest for those aged 60-69 and over 80.  As of today, 54 individuals are in CT’s hospitals.

During a conference call on Monday with reporters and First Selectman Fred Camillo, Greenwich Hospital Chief Operating Officer Diane Kelly said number of cases in Greenwich is mostly non-Greenwich residents.

“The people that test positive are not all from Greenwich,” Camillo said.

“They’re in the minority,” Ms Kelly said.

“We are prepared, staffed and able to expand our ICU capacity,” Kelly said, adding, “We usually have a 10-bed ICU unit but will have capacity for 30 bed ICU by the end of the day.”

“If you’re hospitalized you’re not necessarily assigned to the ICU,” Kelly continued, adding, “Most patients now are on either a regular medical floor or a telemetry monitored floor. We have additional resources on those units, but you want to expand your ICU’s because if patients become more critical in nature, those are the services you need readily available with no time notice.”

She said canceling elective procedures helps to decrease the spread of this virus, while freeing up doctors and nurses.

“It also preserves our very important personal protective devices,” Kelly explained.

“The support the Greenwich community has given Greenwich Hospital is overwhelming. Everything from people sending pizzas to the Emergency Dept staff, to people wanting to buy ventilators and sending masks.

“What they really love is that the community cares about what we’re doing.”

Greenwich Hospital Chief Operating Officer Diane Kelly

Asked whether the hospital is looking for potential satellite locations, Kelly said the hospital also has operating rooms in Holly Hill and we a large medical practice arena in Stamford. “We would first look at what we have. I’m only looking at medical facilities, not non-medical at this point in time,” she said.

She also explained that tests are being processed more rapidly for people already in the hospital or for healthcare workers.

“It can take three to seven days, though we’re trying to shorten that up, but the whole country is using a certain amount of labs,” Kelly said.

Kelly said anyone seeking testing should contact their provider first. “We are only testing with a physician’s order,” she said.  “We still get people who think they can test based on how they’re feeling. That’s understandable, but people must practice social isolation.”

“We are still delivering babies – that’s the joyful part of our job. None of that is being compromised.” – Greenwich Hospital Chief Operating Officer Diane Kelly

Parks & Beaches are closed, and there is no access to boats stored at the marinas in parks including the Grass Island Marina, Greenwich Boat Club, Byram Shore Boat Club and the Old Greenwich Yacht Club.

Boat owners will be notified when they will be able to access their vessels.

Camillo said he’d received both negative and positive feedback on his decision to close parks and beaches.

“It is my hope that this temporary inconvenience will mitigate the spread of the national health crisis in Greenwich. I am responsible for the health and safety of 63,000 people. As you can imagine, there are lots of opinions among all of them, but we make decisions based on the information we have and I can tell you, leaving large open spaces available to the public is a recipe for disaster,” Camillo said. “Medical professionals as well as national, international, and regional trends show that this is going to grow exponentially in the coming days.”

Greenwich Health Dept is continuing operation of dedicated phone lines to receive residents’ calls and answer concerns. The numbers are: 203-622 -7865, 203-622-7703, 203-622-7614, 203-622-7842 and 203-622-7836.

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, call your doctor or healthcare facility before visiting. If you have questions about COVID-19, call 833-ASK-YNHH (833-275-9644), or check the website.

As of Monday, March 23, most Town Hall employees are working from home and are available either by phone and email during business hours. The website and email are the preferred methods of communication.

Greenwich Police advise residents experiencing mild symptoms of illness who are not in a high risk group to contact their personal physician rather than calling 911. Save 911 for true emergencies.

Other resources for residents and businesses:

• For those residents experiencing challenges with food, finances, and living arrangements, please call the Department of Human Services at 203-622-3800.

• In addition to social distancing protocols, residents are encouraged to review CDC guidelines on preventing the spread of COVID-19.

• If you experience price gouging, please contact the State Attorney General’s Office which has a dedicated phone line and website to collect information: 860-808-5318 or online here.

• The US Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories, of which Connecticut is included, low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Please visit their website for more information on eligibility and how to apply.

• Governor Ned Lamont has provided a list defining essential businesses that are allowed to continue to operate during this time. Also, there is a process to will allow business owners to file for an exemption from the order: Business Information Request for Designation as an Essential Business.