Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo issued a statement Wednesday afternoon urging Town residents follow established protocols as prescribed by the Centers for Disease Control in the effort to help stem the spread of the coronavirus, also known as the Covid-19 virus.
The CDC is advising all travelers who recently returned from China, South Korea, Italy and Iran, to self-quarantine for 14 days, upon their return from travel. While there have not been any coronavirus cases reported in Connecticut, there have been at least six reported in nearby New Rochelle, NY.
Greenwich Health Director Caroline Baisley said her staff continues to update the Health Department webpage with links to specific topics related to the coronavirus including links to the CDC and the State Department of health websites which continue to publish real time information and guidance for communities, health care facilities and schools.
They also are endeavoring to establish a Covid-19 telephone hotline. This situation is evolving so quickly that the CDC is the only agency that is keeping up with what is going on.
In terms of planning, the Department of Health is modifying the Town’s plan on an influenza Pandemic for the Covid – 19 virus and is working with State and Federal health agencies on planning strategies for implementation should the virus need to be slowed down once it arrives.
First Selectman Camillo has convened a working group of major infrastructure Town departments – including the Board of Education – who are assisting with design of a continuity plan that will assist the Town in keeping programs functional should they be interrupted by the coronavirus.
Health Dept Director Baisley also is working with Greenwich Hospital in their planning efforts so there will be a unified response to maximize care for all those who made need it.
Among the protocols we are urging residents to follow are:
• NO handshaking – Use a fist pump or an elbow bump.
• Use ONLY your knuckle to touch light switches, elevator buttons, etc.
• Lift the gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or use a disposable glove.
• Open doors with your closed fist or hip. Do NOT grasp the handle with your hand, unless there is no other way to open the door, especially on bathroom and commercial doors.
• Use disinfectant wipes at stores when they are available, including wiping the handle and child seat in grocery stores.
• Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds and/or use a greater than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer whenever you return home from ANY activity that involves locations where other people have been.
• If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use the crook of your elbow only if you have to.
• Remember that a virus can remain on clothing for as long as one week.
• The virus is spread in large droplets by coughing and sneezing. This means that the air will not infect you. However, all surfaces where these droplets land are infectious for about one week.
• The virus only has receptors for lung cells meaning it only infects the lungs.
• The only way the virus can infect you is through your nose and mouth. Generally, this means that people introduce the virus into their airways themselves.
• The point of the masks is to prevent people not to touch their faces. However, the standard masks do not prevent the inhalation of sub-microscopic viral particles.
• It is generally advised to stay away from large gatherings.
• It is generally advised to wear latex gloves while riding public transportation.
• You should be washing your hands 8-10 times daily, on average, and every time you return home and before you eat.
For more information including up-to-the-minute CDC reports, please check the Health Department’s webpage.