Greenwich Hospital pushes for masks, vaccines while ‘our fingers are crossed’ on downward COVID trend

Photo of Ken Borsuk
Greenwich Hospital has reported not just a drop in COVID patients there but throughout the health system. Officials are hoping it is the start of a trend.

Greenwich Hospital has reported not just a drop in COVID patients there but throughout the health system. Officials are hoping it is the start of a trend.

Tyler Sizemore / Hearst Connecticut Media

GREENWICH — Officials at Greenwich Hospital and with the town reported Wednesday that the number of COVID cases appears to be leveling off in the past week in the town, while urging residents to continue to wear masks and get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“We are hopefully starting to see a small decrease in admissions just from the numbers,” said Dana Marnane, Greenwich Hospital’s vice president of public relations. “Our fingers are crossed that we’re starting to see a slow decrease.”

As of Wednesday, Greenwich Hospital said it was treating six patients who had tested positive for COVID-19, with two of the patients in the intensive care unit and one on a ventilator. All six were unvaccinated, Marnane said. That is down from Aug. 25, when Greenwich Hospital was treating 11 COVID-positive patients.

The Yale New Haven Health System, of which Greenwich Hospital is a part, was treating 118 patients on Wednesday, down from 136 last week.

“We can’t let our guard down. We still need people to get vaccinated, wear masks and wash hands, especially as school starts,” Marnane added.

First Selectman Fred Camillo agreed, saying that residents should be cautious and do what they can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as they return to town from traveling and send their kids back to school.

The town will be monitoring the numbers, especially with major events coming up in town, including the Greenwich Town Party, which has put strict COVID precautions in place for everyone, on Sunday.

As of Wednesday, Greenwich has seen a total of 5,547 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March 2020, he said. That is an increase of 69 cases over last week, but last week’s increase was 81 cases, showing a small decrease in the trend.

“This is positive news, but we have to keep our eye on the ball over the next couple of weeks especially,” Camillo said. The town is “prepared for some spikes now and in the next few weeks.”

He recently put in place a mask mandate for inside all buildings in town. Camillo also stressed the need for residents to get vaccinated if they want restrictions lifted.

“There are some people who refuse to get (the vaccine), and you have to deal with that. But the more we get our (vaccination) numbers up, the less it becomes a factor,” Camillo said. “We hope now that there is FDA approval (for the Pfizer vaccine) it will spark a few more people to get the vaccine.”

But he said he was resigned to the fact that some people will never get vaccinated.

“What gives me hope is that having spoken to a few people over the last few weeks that either have gotten it, finally got it or are about to get it, that this is a good sign,” Camillo said.

Camillo said Gov. Ned Lamont and Stamford Mayor David Martin have reported that indoor mask mandates have resulted in a leveling off of COVID-19 cases. He said he hoped the same thing would happen in Greenwich.

“These are temporary measures, not lifetime,” Camillo said of the mask mandate. “They’re being implemented to get us through this. There are always people who will not agree with it, but this is the call we made and we will do what we think is best to keep people safe. We want to get to the other side of this ASAP.”

Vaccine booster shots for those who are immunocompromised are available through Greenwich Hospital. Regular vaccines are still available at many local pharmacies, including CVS and Walgreens.

Camillo said he met with Lamong last week to discuss several things, including the town and the state’s COVID responses. The talk went well, Camillo asid, and they remain in contact about trends with the virus.

kborsuk@greenwichtime.com