The number of coronavirus cases continues to rise in Greenwich
GREENWICH — Even as the number of coronavirus cases in town continues to rise, Greenwich Hospital said Wednesday it has the capacity to care for its patients “at this time.”
A total of 55 residents have tested positive for the virus, First Selectman Fred Camillo said in his Wednesday afternoon news briefing. The town’s Department of Health said that is up 45 cases diagnosed in town as of Tuesday.
At Greenwich Hospital, there have been 133 positive tests for the coronavirus at its mobile testing site. As of noon Wednesday, 37 of those patients have been hospitalized in several different units of the facility.
“We still have capacity at this time,” Greenwich Hospital public relations coordinator Magaly Olivero said. “But we are exploring using our offsite locations if needed.”
The hospital is working on “contingency plans” if more space is needed, Camillo said. Greenwich Hospital COO Diane Kelly said they were looking only at medical facilities, including satellite locations run by the hospital, for additional space.
“God forbid they get overrun and there’s no space at the hospital, there are other spaces they can use in Greenwich and Stamford that they are lining up right now just in case,” Camillo said.
While the Trump administration issued a call for people who have recently visited New York City to self-quarantine for two weeks, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Gov. Ned Lamont on Wednesday dismissed the advice. They said residents and officials should abide practice six-foot social distancing.
Camillo urged residents to use common sense and “follow the same protocols and same guidelines that we’ve been stating since day one.”
“We have to remember, we share a border with New York and as someone mentioned today, we breathe the same air,” he said. “We’re just asking people again to be very, very careful because there is a lot of concern because of our location.”
There have not been any requests for temporary housing for healthcare workers or hospital staff during the outbreak, Camillo said. Nor has there been for any call for “separation housing” for residents who have tested positive — and who do not require hospitalization — but do not want to risk infecting family members, he said.
To stop the spread of the coronavirus, the town has already closed its parks, beaches, civic centers, libraries and Senior Center to promote social distancing and stop large gatherings of residents.
Also as a result of the coronavirus, the town will delay until further notice a planned food scrap recycling program that had been set to launch in April.
“There is so much face-to-face contact in instructing residents, we think it is sensible to wait until it is safe to have that contact,” Public Works Commissioner Amy Siebert said on Wednesday.
Camillo said he remains committed to launching the pilot program. Residents can still start their own composting at home to reduce waste in town, he said.
“We will get this going as soon as we can,” Camillo said. “The official opening is just going to be delayed a little.”
The town will also postpone its annual spring household hazardous waste collection day until the fall.
Also, during this time of social distancing, the Commission on Aging and the Senior Center have teamed up with faculty and staff from the Greenwich Country Day School to launch a digital program called “Connecting Our Neighbors Naturally Enriching Community Through Technology.”
CONNECTT is “a way to socially connect with other people for free and participate in enjoyable programs and activities — all from the comfort of their own home,” Camillo said.
Participants can connect to a live session via computer, tablet, smartphone or landline telephone. All of the sessions are open to the public with no registration necessary. The first session will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday with trivia games and at 10:30 a.m. Friday with yoga.
The full schedule will be posted at the Commission on Aging’s website at www.greenwichct.gov/190/Commission-on-Aging. To get assistance with the technology, call a Greenwich Country Day School volunteer at 203-863-5653.
The town’s health department has dedicated phone lines for resident questions and concerns at 203-622 -7865, 203-622-7703, 203-622-7614, 203-622-7842 and 203-622-7836 and Yale New Haven Health has a daily hotline at 833-275-9644 and a website at www.ynhhs.org/patient-care/covid-19.aspx.