UPDATED: Two Employees Test Positive for Covid at The Griff; Health Dept Urges Youth Who Attended Parties to Get Tested

Update: According to Caroline Baisley, the director of Greenwich’s Health Dept, one of the two employees at The Griff who had tested positive for Covid-19 and who worked in the pro shop, was a false positive. The only employee of The Griff to test positive worked collecting balls from the driving range.

Original story: Wednesday, July 29

“It was a perfect storm,” said Caroline Baisley, the director of Greenwich’s Health Dept on Wednesday referring to what she described as “a little surge with these parties.”

Last Thursday Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo did a robocall to residents with a message for younger residents and their parents reminding them of the 4 W’s: wash your hands; watch your distance; wipe down surfaces, and wear a mask.

On Monday, Governor Lamont also expressed concern.

“Those parties have carried with them a fair number of infections. A couple of them down in Fairfield County involved young people coming from out-of-state to party,” he said.

Baisley said that week-to-week, July 22 and then Wednesday, July 29, there was an increase of 47 positive Covid-19 cases in Greenwich.

She said it was difficult to determine how many cases were related to Greenwich parties from the weekend of July 16-19, but there were people testing positive for Covid who were age 18, 16, 19, and 20.

“We don’t put them into the party category until we interview them,” she explained, adding, “We figured that of the 47, there’s more community increase cases than there are party-goer cases. Maybe 20 are from party-goers.”

Unfortunately, Baisley said cooperation with contact tracing has been disappointing.

“With some of these kids, we’ve left messages and no one has called us back,” she said. “There are people who when we call will hang up on us. We need everybody to respond.”

“Flattening the curve does not mean the virus has left the area or the community or the state. It’s still here. It is just not killing as many people as it did in the spring. That doesn’t mean it’s gone.”

Caroline Baisley, Director Greenwich Dept of Health

Baisley’s message to any young person who attended one of the recent parties is that the Health Dept is does not to punish or shame them.

Instead she urged them to get themselves tested because they could be asymptomatic, but contagious.

“The kids are nervous, and afraid they’ll get in trouble. They don’t want to give up their friends or their hosts,” she said. “They’ve been a little light on details. But we already know the parties occurred….It’s after the fact.”

“If you’re throwing parties, you shouldn’t be, because you can’t do social distancing, masking, or hand washing. You’re really putting everyone at risk – everyone at your party, yourself, and your family.”

Greenwich Health Dept Director Caroline Baisley

Baisley said about half of her staff are working on contact tracing.

“We’re interviewing people and finding who they’ve been in contact with,” she said.

Health Dept staff are supplemented by members of Greenwich’s Medical Reserve Corps, who are a mix of doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants and even veterinarians who have signed up to volunteer on their own time during pubic health emergencies, in this case helping contact tracing efforts.

As for the contact tracing, Baisley said, it’s not a new effort. “We’ve been doing it since the beginning of the spring.”

She said anyone who attended one of the parties over the weekend of July 16-19 where young people were exposed to the virus should get tested because they could be contagious even though they are asymptomatic.

Anyone with general questions about Covid or questions about testing can call the Health Dept at (203) 622-7836 to speak to someone confidentially.

Baisley said all insurance companies, as well as Medicare and Husky Health, cover the cost of testing. She said young people who attended any of the recent parties should call their doctors for a referral to one of the test sites in town, which include the drive through testing site at Greenwich Hospital.

She said anyone without insurance can call the Yale New Haven Health System triage number at (203) 688-1700 to arrange a free test.

“If they’re contagious and don’t get tested, they’re exposing parents and friends – and maybe a grandmother or grandfather,” Baisley said.

The Griff

As for the situation up at the Griff, the town owned golf course, Baisley said two employees had tested positive in the golf shop, but that the public are not at risk, and employees have restructured the way they service the public.

“It is closed to sales and rentals inside the shop,” she said.”Now they have to do business through a window.”

She said the protocols at the golf course remain extensive, and that all employees who work closely with the golf shop all got tested.

Golf carts are sanitized after every rental. Range balls and baskets are cleaned daily as well.

Employees are given PPE, including masks, and even the golf cart keys are cleaned. The number of people allowed into the pro shop at one time are very limited.

Baisley said she was confident the two employees at the Griff did not get Covid from members of the public.

“I feel confident to say that the risk with the public is highly unlikely,” Baisley said.

See also:

After Weekend of Teen Parties, Greenwich First Selectman Asks, “Why Take That Chance? Why Be Selfish? Why Be Reckless?

Lamont: CT Travel Advisory List Expanded; Fairfield County Parties Have Carried Infections; Sanctions Possible