Greenwich sees 233 more cases of COVID as vaccinations continue

Photo of Ken Borsuk

GREENWICH — The numbers associated with the COVID-19 crisis continue to rise — with more cases, more hospitalizations and more deaths reported in Greenwich — even as vaccine efforts ramp up.

As of Tuesday, a total of 2,665 residents have been diagnosed with the coronavirus since mid-March, an increase of 233 cases since last week, First Selectman Fred Camillo said in an update Wednesday.

Of those cases, 235 are considered active by the town Department of Health, an increase of 70 cases since Dec. 30, when Camillo last briefed local media on the virus.

Also, six more residents with COVID-19 died in the past week, bringing the total to 73 since the start of the pandemic.

Greenwich Hospital is holding steady with the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations. CEO Diane Kelly reported the hospital was treating 36 patients hospitalized with coronavirus, about the same as a week ago.

Of those patients, five were in the intensive care unit and four were on ventilators, she said.

“The numbers are about the same, but the turnover in patients is very different,” Kelly said. “Yesterday we discharged six patients and by the time the morning came, we had admitted seven more. Every day patients are being discharged, but more patients are coming in from the community.”

Despite concerns, Kelly said the hospital has not yet seen a post-holiday surge in cases.

“It’s not great, but it’s not big spikes,” she said of the number of cases. “It’s almost like we’re in a plateau with small, incremental ebbs and flows in it.”

Get the vaccine

Greenwich Hospital is continuing to vaccinate its front-line medical workers, some of whom are receiving the second of the two-dose vaccine this week.

In the Yale New Haven Health System, of which Greenwich is a part, 15,000 vaccinations have been given to health care workers, with 1,300 in Greenwich, which Kelly called “a great start.” The vaccinations will continue, and the state will decide who will be vaccinated next.

“Greenwich Hospital will be expanding out when we get the word from the state,” Kelly said. “The distribution of this and when we go to different levels and categories is all being state-driven, including how much vaccine we receive and what categories and levels we are at.”

She said there is a “lot of work yet to be done with front line workers.”

Gov. Ned Lamont’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group is expected to make a recommendation this week about who would be covered in Phase 1B and 1C of the vaccination program.

This week, town Director of Health Caroline Baisley said she hoped town vaccination clinics could be up and running at the end of the month. But Camillo said he was not ready to make an announcement.

“We have to wait and see,” Camillo said. “I don’t want to put out information that people are going to take to the bank and then have to backtrack a little bit.”

Kelly said it was “extremely important” for residents to know the importance of vaccines. About 80 percent of the public must be vaccinated for it to “really make a dent in curbing the spread of this pandemic,” she said.

Follow the protocols

Kelly and Camillo also stressed the importance of keeping vigilant against the coronavirus.

“Social distancing is extremely important, as is wearing masks and good hand hygiene,” Kelly said. “We really have to keep our vigilance up on that.”

Due to the large number of people visiting Greenwich Point, Camillo said the park will remain closed to non-cardholders through at least the end of January. Over the weekend, 4,762 visitors went to the beach and park in 2,700 cars, he said.

“Unfortunately, we had to turn around 600 vehicles that had no Greenwich ID at all,” Camillo said. “We will have people in the booths at least through the end of the month. We’re still in that zone looking at capacity limits there.

“I know it’s frustrating for a lot of people who love to come in the wintertime, but we’re still in the middle of the pandemic,” he said. “As soon as we’re able to, we’ll be able to get back to normal with visitations from people outside of our town’s borders but we’re just not there yet.”

kborsuk@greenwichtime.com