Camillo: COVID numbers ‘seem to be flattening’ in Greenwich as the mask mandate works

First Selectman Fred Camillo is expressing optimism about the town’s downward trend in COVID-19 cases and its high vaccination rates.

First Selectman Fred Camillo is expressing optimism about the town’s downward trend in COVID-19 cases and its high vaccination rates.

Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

GREENWICH — Positive trends continue in the town’s COVID-19 numbers, which shows that efforts to encourage vaccinations and require masks in indoor settings are getting results, First Selectman Fred Camillo said Thursday.

“Here in town we seem to be flattening out (over) the past three or four weeks,” Camillo said of infection rates during his weekly COVID briefing with Greenwich Hospital. “We’re definitely encouraged by that.”

As of Tuesday, there have been 5,652 cases of COVID-19 in town since the pandemic began in March 2020, with an increase of 49 cases over the past week. That continues a downward trend in the number of new cases seen over the past month, he said.

“The vaccinations are working, and the policies and the procedures in place are working,” Camillo said.

Last week, the town reported an increase of 56 new cases, with 69 new cases the week before that and 81 the week prior to that. And the downward trend comes after schools reopened in Greenwich and major events have been held, including the Greenwich Town Party, which brought a large outdoor crowd to Roger Sherman Baldwin Park over Labor Day weekend.

The Greenwich Public Schools has reported 18 cases of COVID since the first day of classes for students on Sept. 1, according to the district’s online tracker. All of the cases involve students.

“We have a few more big events coming up, but following the trends it looks hopefully that this won’t be as long-lasting as” the second wave of COVID-19 in late 2020, Camillo said.

The Department of Health is monitoring 55 active cases of COVID-19, a decrease of three from the week before, the town said.

Greenwich Hospital reported it was treating nine patients who had been admitted with COVID-19, with one patient on a ventilator in the intensive care unit. Of the nine patients, only one has been vaccinated, said Dana Marnane, vice president of public relations for Greenwich Hospital.

Marnane and Camillo encouraged everyone who is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The more the better,” Camillo said. “We understand that not everybody is comfortable with vaccinations, but certainly the overwhelming majority (of residents) have (gotten the shot) and that’s good.”

In town, 85.38 percent of the 52,482 eligible residents have received a first vaccination shot and 78.72 percent are fully vaccinated with two doses. The goal is to hit a 90 percent vaccination rate in town, Camillo has said.

Greenwich Hospital is also giving third vaccination booster shots for people with compromised immune systems.

In August, Camillo instituted a mask mandate indoors in town when social distancing isn’t possible. He has said the measure is temporary but has not indicated when it might be lifted. Camillo said the town is “monitoring what’s going on.”

Camillo expressed optimism that there would not be a big increase this fall and winter, when more people are indoors, which caused cases to spike in late 2020.

“Last year at this point we were concerned about that second wave — but people weren’t vaccinated last year,” he said. “That has to factor into it. We’re in a much better place than we were last year.”

Many residents will be cautious “no matter what’s in place,” Camillo said. “I know people who wear masks indoors whether there’s a mask mandate or not. Maybe they have an immune system that’s compromised or they’re just fearful. That’s OK. We’re telling people you’re more than welcome to wear that mask and certainly businesses can impose stricter policies than we have.”

kborsuk@greenwichtime.com