Camillo: Declining COVID numbers show Greenwich is ‘going down the right path’

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GREENWICH — The number of new cases of COVID-19 continues to decline in Greenwich, First Selectman Fred Camillo reported Wednesday as the loosened public health rules on wearing masks.

“The town is in a good spot,” Camillo said at the weekly town briefing on COVID-19. “And we want to continue going down the right path and in the right direction.”

Under the revised state guidelines, residents who are fully vaccinated did not need to wear masks or practice social distancing while indoors or outdoors. But those who have not received two doses of the vaccine, and waited two weeks for it to take full effect, must still follow those restrictions. Each business can set their own requirements as well. Unvaccinated people will be trusted, on an honor system, to wear a mask when applicable.

As of Wednesday, only 10 new cases of COVID-19 had been reported in town over the last week, Camillo said, bringing the total to 5,105 since the pandemic began in March 2020. Additionally, the number of cases considered active by the town Department of Health fell by 22 from the week before to a total of 20.

“We haven’t seen numbers that low in a long time,” Camillo said. “Things are really, really looking good. And with the governor now opening things up and moving off the mandates and allowing the municipalities and private businesses to set their own policies, we want to be clear from the town of Greenwich’s standpoint that we are going to be reevaluating but also watching the numbers over the coming days and weeks.”

The town will “keep steady” with its policies, said Camillo, encouraging residents to take masks with them wherever they go — just in case.

“You may not be able to go into certain places and you can’t go on public transportation or go into the hospital” without masks, he said. “Bring the mask with you. When you’re outside and away from people, take it off, enjoy the sun and breathe fresh air. Enjoy and get some normalcy back in your lives.”

Some gyms are allowing patrons to work out without masks, Camillo said. “I’ve taken advantage of that myself and I’m loving it. But I still have the mask with me in case I am in situation where somebody is close and they’re uncomfortable. It’s about respect for other people if you’ve been vaccinated. Keep in mind some people haven’t been.”

Also as of Wednesday, Greenwich Hospital had only four COVID patients, with none in the intensive care unit, GH President Diane Kelly said. Throughout the Yale New Haven Health System, of which GH is part, the number of COVID patients has fallen by 29 to only 56 patients over five hospitals.

“These are substantial numbers that are coming down,” Kelly said.

“I agree it’s wonderful that we can start to breathe fresh air and put some normalcy back into our day, but when you are coming to Greenwich Hospital, we are going to require you to wear a mask,” she said. “Remember we have a vulnerable population here.”

Greenwich Hospital held a successful clinic last week, vaccinating 2,567 local youth — 1,921 of them under the age of 16, Kelly said.

The hospital will soon “slow down” the mass vaccine site it has operated at Brunswick School since January, she said, but no final dates have been set. When the hospital does transition away from the site, vaccines will then be available at primary care offices, Kelly said.

Getting the second dose of the vaccine to residents is a priority, she said.

“We are going to stay working on this collaboratively, but we definitely have seen the need and the appointments go on,” Kelly said. Greenwich Hospital will look at the community need on a week-by-week basis before making any decisions about closing the vaccine clinics.

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