Freaked Out? With 24/7 News Coverage, COVID-19 Symptoms Might be Psychosomatic

On his daily news media teleconference Thursday First Selectman Fred Camillo was joined by Greenwich Hospital COO Diane Kelly.

Camillo and Kelly were asked for advice about those suffering from shortness of breath, headaches or congestion, and whether those symptoms might be a psychosomatic and attributable to a simple cold or allergy, considering people hear about COVID-19 around the clock.

“I am a registered nurse, but I never cross that line…but, of course it is,” Kelly said. “And I completely understand why people are feeling that way. It’s everywhere 24/7, and people are isolating, and that brings anxiety and nervousness. And you start re-evaluate everything that is going on with you. I find myself doing that.”

Kelly said nonetheless, it is important for people not to ignore their symptoms and attribute them to nervousness.

She encouraged people to monitor their temperatures.

“That is completely objective. Take your temperature. Look to see if it is going up,” she said. “Keep paying attention to your body. It’s possible, but I hope people don’t ignore those symptoms.”

“People should take care of what they can control: Social distancing, good hand hygiene. Take care of yourself. Eat well. Hydrate well. All of those things will help.” – Diane Kelly, Greenwich Hospital COO

“This is a really stressful time,” Ms Kelly added. “We recognize that.”

Kelly said the majority of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 are doing well and are not requiring hospitalization.

On Thursday there were 161 patients at in the Greenwich Hospital outpatient site who have tested positive for COVID-19, and 57 Greenwich residents tested positive.

As of noon Thursday, 49 positive patients in the hospital were being treated in several different units.

Asked about advice for residents considering traveling to another part of Connecticut or to another state to visit with close family, Kelly said people should not travel, even to see close family.

“We really should be trying to avoid that if we can,” she said.

“Each state has their own guidelines, but social distancing means staying in your own home if you can. Don’t be sharing bathrooms if you can avoid that. The more you can stay in your own home. Even if you’re in your own home, practice good hygiene.”

Ms. Kelly said Greenwich Hospital has what it needs in terms of personal protection equiopment and ventilators.

“We have ordered and have several ventilators on standby in addition to some in use. Yale-New Haven also have some on stand by for us. For PPE, it’s the same thing,” she said. “That is a precious resource and we are being very mindful and careful of it.”

Asked about the condition of COVID-19 patients at Greenwich Hospital, Kelly said some patients had been discharged, though she did not have the precise numbers. Others, she said are struggling.

She said the maternity ward is operating with full service for labor and delivery. “It’s not predictable. We are open 24/7 for the need to arise.”

She said partners are allowed to attend births.

“Obviously we do screening processes and we talk to fathers and are giving them any type of equipment of protective gear if needed. We are asking them to stay right with their partner and not go anywhere else in the hospital. Everyone has been extremely cooperative with that.”

As for other visitors given the tightened visitor policy, Kelly said visitors are strictly limited, but, for example, “If you were an end stage oncology patient, and you knew you you were going to pass in a period of time, of course we’d allow a loved one to be with that family member. We’d screen that family member and make sure they only go up to that unit….I can’t even think of another exception.”

Camillo announced that three upcoming BET meetings had been rescheduled to dates roughly three weeks forward, to be held “virtually.”

BET Public Hearing scheduled for Monday March 30 is rescheduled for Tuesday, April 21 at 7:00pm

BET Budge workshop scheduled for Tuesday March 31, is rescheduled for Thursday, April 23 at 9:00am.

The BET “Decision Day” meeting scheduled for Thursday April 2 is rescheduled virtually for Monday April 27 at 9:00am.

Other information on the call included:

Governor Ned Lamont announced that Connecticut small businesses and nonprofits that have been negatively impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic can now apply for one-year, interest-free loans of up to $75,000 under the launch of a new program administered by the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD).

The Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program will make $25 million available to Connecticut businesses and nonprofits that have 100 or fewer employees to assist with cash flow. Loan amounts are up to the lesser of either three months operating expenses and/or $75,000.

With the schools closed parents have been looking safe online activities while spending their time “Staying Home and Staying Safe”.

The Griffith E. Harris Golf Course, “The Griff” is closed until further notice, even though Connecticut Dept of Economic and Community Development has relaxed restrictions to allow golf courses to open.

“We could be two to four weeks away from a peak in this outbreak,” Camillo added. “While fresh air and exercise is good, I do not want to rush to reopen the course. We need to be cognizant and concerned not only of the public health, but the health of our employees as well.”

“Even in large, open areas such as a golf course, there is too much risk of people gathering and mingling too closely,” Camillo said.