Camillo: Coronavirus peak is still weeks away
GREENWICH — There were only two new cases of coronavirus among Greenwich residents on Thursday, but First Selectman Fred Camillo warned that the town is likely weeks away from the peak of the virus.
According to the state, 57 Greenwich residents had tested positive as of Thursday.
“Obviously it’s a good sign, but every credible source has said we are anywhere from two to four weeks from the possible peak of this virus,” Camillo said in a news briefing. “We have to be very careful about this. Yes, this is a lot better than seeing the number be a lot larger. But we certainly do not want people to be lulled into a false sense of security over it.”
Overall, 161 people have tested positive at Greenwich Hospital’s outpatient site, 28 more people than reported Wednesday. And 49 of those patients have been hospitalized as a result.
In the news briefing, hospital COO Diane Kelly said she could not discuss details due to patient privacy laws, but she reported some coronavirus patients have been treated and released from Greenwich Hospital. She said several “had done very well” and were discharged after a few days.
But others patients have been hospitalized longer and “are definitely having more of a struggle with it,” she said.
“As you might expect, there are some people that are doing quite well and going back to their lives while needing rest, of course, but there are some people here for a longer duration,” Kelly said.
Greenwich Hospital is continuing to handle the demand for ventilators for seriously ill patients and personal protective equipment for staff, she said.
Kelly said the staff checks the amount of PPEs every morning to make sure the hospital has what it needs, and assesses the demand for ventilators.
“We have what we need,” Kelly said. “We have ordered and have several ventilators on standby. We do have some in use. ... We have also reached out to the Yale New Haven Health System and they have some also for us on standby. ...
“This is a very precious resource and we are being very mindful of it,” she said.
The staff is also able to handle the workload, Kelly said. The hospital canceled all elective procedures and most of its outpatient services are closed, so the staff has been redeployed to help with coronavirus patients, she said.
“We are encouraging people to do their regular shift and go home and rest,” Kelly said. “We’re not needing to house anyone at this point.”
Greenwich Hospital continues to offer its full labor and baby delivery services, and Kelly noted the “unpredictable nature” of that means the department is staffed 24/7. Fathers are allowed to attend births after a health screening is done, and they must remain in that part of the hospital.
“Everyone has been extremely cooperative with that,” Kelly said.
Hospital policy allows for visitors on a case-by-case basis for all patients, based on their conditions. Visitors must be screened, and patients may have only one visitor at a time.
Pushing for more social distancing
To promote social distancing, Camillo said the town-operated Griffith E. Harris Golf Course will remain closed until further notice even though the state relaxed some restrictions on golf courses.
This past weekend, Camillo also closed the town’s parks and beaches because visitors were not practicing social distancing.
“We’re still a few weeks out from the peak of this thing, and we don’t want mixed messages being sent out there,” he said.
“We certainly don’t want people in close proximity. We get that there are some measures that can put in place at golf courses that would lessen the ability of coming into contact with someone — but it’s still a risk right now, Camillo said.
“We want to get to other side of this and get there sooner rather than later so it’s going to remain closed for the foreseeable future.”
Town meetings held via Zoom
The town is continuing to hold government and organization meetings remotely using the Zoom application. The Board of Education was meeting Thursday night via Zoom, and the Board of Estimate and Taxation and Representative Town Meeting were set to follow suit, too.
On Thursday, the BET announced its revised budget meeting schedule after an executive order from Gov. Ned Lamont gave municipalities 30 extra days to complete their budgets. The BET’s public budget hearing, when residents can submit testimony through email, will now be at 7 p.m. April 21.
That will be followed by a BET workshop to discuss the budget at 9 a.m. April 23. The BET’s budget vote will be at 9 a.m. April 27.