By Kathy Mintchev, Greenwich Academy Class of 2022
On Wednesday, First Selectman Fred Camillo and Greenwich Hospital President Diane Kelly shared updates about Covid-19 in a Zoom press conference.
Ms Kelly said that there were currently 6 Covid-19 positive patients being treated at Greenwich Hospital.
Across the Yale New Haven Health System, hospitals were treating 78 Covid positive patients. Of those, 22 were in the intensive care unit and 11 are on mechanical ventilators.
In Greenwich Hospital, 5 of 6 patients being treated were unvaccinated, as were 63 of the 78 cases systemwide.
With these numbers in mind, Kelly stressed the importance of getting vaccinated.
“We continue to have strong evidence that vaccination is the way to protect oneself from this,” she said.
Twenty-two patients were in the ICU and 11 of them are on mechanical ventilators.
Everyone entering the hospital is required to wear a mask at all times unless they are in a room by themselves, as Ms Kelly was during the Zoom press conference.
Hospital visiting hours have been modified. Only one visitor is allowed per patient.
Townwide, Camillo said he did not favor a mask mandate, but said that he is keeping it in consideration.
“I have noticed that other towns and cities with higher numbers have gone as far as requiring masks in all public spots and businesses,” he said. “We hope we don’t have to do that, but we’re certainly keeping an eye on everything.”
Camillo did change the mask policy in Town Hall on August 9. All staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, are now required to wear a mask as then enter the building and walk in common spaces, but they may take masks off in individual workspaces or offices.
He said he had yet to make a decision yet about requiring masks in all public spaces.
In Greenwich the number of vaccinated is high. Around 70% of residents have had at least one shot of the vaccine, not including the roughly 10,000 children.
Camillo said people have mask fatigue and identified it as an “extra element to battle.”
He said he would remain positive and encourage others to continue to wear masks.
As the Delta variant continues to spread, both Kelly and Camillo expressed ongoing support for local and statewide vaccination campaigns.
“Vaccines are readily available, and we continue to do outreach through the Yale New Haven System, encouraging people to be vaccinated and offering experts to answer questions,” Kelly said.
Camillo took a positive perspective.
“We remain very optimistic, but we’re keeping our eye on the ball… I know that around the state there’s been a surge in vaccinations. I think that people are starting to get concerned about the [Delta] variant.”
Looking forward, Camillo said that there may be a spike in cases in the fall.
“It’s hard to predict what’s around the corner,” he said. “We have an idea that in September when everybody is back here and it’s a bit chilly, we may see a spike in cases and we’ll adjust accordingly. I don’t want to see events canceled. I don’t want to see capacity limits again.”
“That’s why we do the masks,” he said. “If you had an opportunity to watch a baseball game with cardboard cutouts of people and piped in sound, or a full stadium but with people wearing masks, I think we all would opt for seeing live bodies there enjoying themselves. So you have a little discomfort with a mask. It’s just to get us through this rough period, that’s all.”
Nationally, Dr. Anthony Fauci stated earlier this week that COVID vaccine booster shots could soon be needed for elderly and immuno-compromised people.
On Wednesday, neither Camillo nor Kelly said they did not have information about potential booster rollouts in town.
To find a vaccination site and up-to-date information in Connecticut, visit ct.gov/coronavirus. Residents can also receive statewide text message alerts about COVID-19 by texting the keyword COVIDCT to 888-777.