As the temps dip and Covid is on the rise, Greenwich First selectman Fred Camillo and Greenwich Hospital’s president and CEO Diane Kelly held the first of a series of weekly press conferences scheduled through December, which is when the predicted peak in Covid cases is anticipated.
And while the sense of foreboding feels similar to last spring, Camillo said he was not considering closing town parks.
“We’re not looking to close them down, but we’re looking at capacity levels,” he said. “We want people to be outside and be active, but to do so safely.”
At the November 10 Parks & Rec board meeting, director Joe Siciliano said that on the previous weekend, which was very mild, the number of people was “phenomenal.”
In fact, he said 700 cars were turned away at Tod’s Point on Saturday, Nov 7, and 600+ turned away on Sunday, Nov 8.
The Parks & Rec dept typically stops checking beach passes at the gate in November.
Siciliano said people are using all types of facilities including using state parks, and people from outside Greenwich looking for a park they can drive to, they decided to continue to staff the gatehouse through Dec 1.
The policy change was announced at the end of October.
There were over 3,500 people at Tod’s Point on Saturday, Nov 7, and even more on Sunday, Nov 8.
Parks & Rec are selling day passes through Dec 1 for any resident who wants to purchase one for a guest or purchase one for themselves if they don’t have a beach pass.
“It’s not because we want to keep people out, it’s because we’re trying to to manage the number of people using the facility with the number of Covid cases in town,” he said.
During the Wednesday press conference, Diane Kelly said the current wave of Covid was not unexpected, but that people had become fatigued with social distancing and wearing masks.
“But it worked, and it works,” she said.
“It’s especially important to pay attention with as the holidays come and it’s tempting to be in larger groups,” she added.
“We have learned so much since the first wave, and we are keeping people out of the ICU,” she said. “Patients are being transferred home in much greater numbers than before…Our protocols are working.”
Wednesday Covid-19 numbers for Greenwich:
18 patients at Greenwich Hospital being treated for Covid
0 patients in the ICU
104 active Covid-19 cases in Greenwich
14 day rolling average of 11.5 per 63,000 (Greenwich’s population)
14 day rolling average of 18.3 per 100,000 (about half the state’s14-day rolling average)
1,367 Greenwich residents have tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic
“The 18 (patients) that we have in today is not the same kind of look you would have seen in those early months. It’s a very different experience for the patients,” Kelly said.
Kelly also said the hospital was prepared to handle this wave of Covid cases.
“This wave is not an unexpected wave. We’ve been watching our trends since the beginning of the first surge,” she added. “We had a whole group of people behind the scenes estimating when we would see an increase, so this is about the time they had estimated we would see this for a lot of different reasons.”
Kelly said testing is busy at Greenwich Hospital, with about 200 people being tested daily.
Over the state line in the Village of Port Chester the situation is more challenging. On Wednesday morning Mayor Richard Filanka said he was very concerned at how the Village’s numbers were trending upward.
This caused New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to designate the Village of Port Chester an “orange zone.” It is the first community in Westchester County to be elevated to this level.
High risk, non essential businesses must close, including gyms, barber shops, hair salons, and nail salons.
Outdoor dining is allowed only, but a four person maximum per table.
Schools are closed; students limited to remote learning.