First Selectman and Greenwich Hospital President Respond to Surge of 507 New Covid Cases in Greenwich in Past Week

During First Selectman Fred Camillo’s press conference with Greenwich Hospital on Wednesday, he emphasized that the reinstatement of the mask mandate and social distancing for town buildings including town hall was temporary.

“We don’t want to get in a situation where we’re getting our hospital overrun,” he said. “We’re trying to be a little bit cautious.”

He added that there was no mandate from the town or state for masking in private buildings.

Diane Kelly from Greenwich Hospital said they were caring for 19 Covid patients, which she noted was less than at this time a year ago (44). Across the Yale New Haven Health System’s five hospitals there were 257 Covid patients.

In Greenwich, in the last 7 days, the town saw an increase of 507 cases.

Since the start of the pandemic 6,881 Greenwich residents have tested positive.

Diane Kelly, president of Greenwich Hospital on Zoom. Dec 22, 2021

There were no additional deaths in Greenwich in the past week. The total deaths remains at 99.

In Greenwich there are 58,952 residents eligible for vaccines (age 5+).

To date 86.08% have at least initiated the vaccination process, and a total of 74.76% are fully vaccinated.

Across the state in the past day there were +3,366 new cases of Covid-19. (Per Governor Lamont update).

In a holiday alert on Wednesday, Lamont said, “It’s a bit of a perfect storm. We had a blast of Delta coming down from the north, Omicrom coming up from the south.”

“New York has a higher infection rate right now,” he said. “New Jersey is even higher still, and I’m afraid Connecticut is in the middle,” he said, adding that while 90% of CT residents have been vaccinated, it was still important to seek booster shots.

Yale New Haven Health System’s new visitation policy goes into effect Thursday, Dec 23 to protect visitors and patients

“Given how fast the rate of spread in this new variant is occurring, we are most keeping a keen eye on protecting our staff,” Ms Kelly said. “We need all our staff here and healthy to take care of our patients and not quarantine for 10 to 14 days.”

Visitors must show full proof of Covid-19 vaccination, which she clarified does not include boosters, and a photo ID.

Prior to entering, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated visitors can visit only if they provide proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours.

“There will be no exceptions on this policy,” she said, adding there will be no visitors allowed for Covid patients. For non-Covid patients, only one visitor is allowed.

“Throughout the system, the majority of patients admitted have been unvaccinated,” Kelly added.

Greenwich Hospital is working on ramping up testing in response to the substantial increase in number of people requiring and requesting testing.

The hospital does still have a drive-through testing site, but appointments are required.

Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo on Zoom. Dec 22, 2021

Camillo said restaurants reported a significant decreases in patrons recently.

“We don’t want to go back to what happened last year where we had to keep barriers out all year round, even though it’s kind of cold to do that,” he said. “You don’t want to constantly throw mandates around every time there is an uptick or surge, but this is a different kind of surge, and this variant is a lot more transmissible but less potent.”

In response to the town health department staff being overwhelmed with contact tracing, Camillo said he was reaching out to the State requesting help establishing testing sites.

Still, Camillo urged residents not to cancel plans.

“If you’re vaccinated and received the booster, go out with your family, go out to restaurants. Don’t cancel things,” he said.

He also said that unlike last year, this year the flu is circulating.

As for the mask mandate at town buildings it applies to everyone regardless of vaccination status.

“You’re always going to get people aggravated,” Camillo said. “I’ve already received emails from people telling me that the masks never worked and vaccines don’t work. You just have to do what you think is right.”

“We’ve adjusted policy throughout. We know how to do this. We’re in a much better place than we were in 2020.”

See also:

Outdoor Dining Nodes on Greenwich Ave Removed for Winter; Sidewalk Dining Continues

Greenwich High School to Close through Friday Due to Sharp Rise in Covid Cases

Camillo Resumes Mask Mandate in Town Buildings; All Town Meetings Pivot to Zoom

Yale New Haven Health to Require Visitor Proof of Vaccination in Response to Covid Surge