On Wednesday First Selectman Fred Camillo and Greenwich Hospital president Diane Kelly held a press conference via Zoom with a Covid update.
Camillo said Tuesday’s test kit and mask give away went really well.
“There was lots of feedback and people thanking us publicly and privately,” he said. “Lots of boots on the ground and also the planning that went into it.”
He said there ideas for possible venues for future give-aways other than the Senior Center, which resulted in traffic backups on Greenwich Avenue and competed with businesses in the area.
Townwide, there were 466 active Covid cases in Greenwich as of Tuesday, Jan 4.
Just prior to Christmas there were 185 cases.
“It’s been spiking ever since,” said Barbara Heins from the First Selectman’s office.
Ms Kelly said throughout the Yale New Haven Health System Omicron accounted for at least 85% of cases.
• As of Wednesday there were 60 Covid-positive patients being treated at Greenwich Hospital, five in ICU.
• Across the Yale New Haven Health System there were 700 Covid-positive patients being treated, and 95 in the ICU.
Ms Kelly said roughly 75-80% of Covid patients were not vaccinated, and about 30% were not boosted.
“If that’s on your to do list, I would strongly encourage you to do that,” she said of boosters.
Acknowledging the popularity of at-home Covid tests, she said, “It’s not really a tracking tool. It’s for people to be mindful about where they are with this…They serve their purpose because if they are positive, they usually are positive, and that tells people to restrict their behaviors.”
Ms Kelly said what was different with the current surge from earlier ones was how contagious it was. In fact, she said at least 60 hospital staff were out on Wednesday.
“But what we’re seeing is a different level of acuity, so if you’re vaccinated twice, some of these people are still sick and needing hospitalization, and a very small group of people needing hospitalization that have had the booster – we’re seeing that those people have other underlying issues – whether they’re being treated for cancer or other immunosuppressant issues.”
“The majority of people are not in the ICU. They’re not requiring ventilated or mechanical assisted breathing in any way,” she said. “The people who don’t have any vaccine – they are the ones that are sicker.”
He said right now Camillo said he was not considering instituting a mask mandate outside of town facilities since most businesses are enforcing their own guidelines, and vaccinations are widespread.
“You have to be careful with these mandates. We did it a few times. In some cases it wasn’t very popular and we did it,” he said. “But we’re in a different place now.” Camillo urged people to go about their lives, but in a safe manner.
Asked if he was considering another mask mandate in town, Camillo said no.
“You don’t want to be the nanny state,” he added. “You want to be very, very, very careful when you put an executive order in place or put a mandate down. You better make sure that it’s the last option.”
Camillo said that at town hall some departments had been hit particularly hard by the recent surge, but staff were returning to work.
“Operations were uninterrupted. We had other contingency plans. This variant, while it is not very potent, it’s highly transmissible. We knew this was going to happen, but not to this extent.”
“If you look back at the history of viruses and the influenza pandemic of 1918, there were several waves and they were deadlier than they are today,” he said. “We’re looking at probably another three or four weeks until we hit the peak.”