Town COVID cases dip as vaccine mandates kick in for Greenwich Hospital, school district staff

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Greenwich Hospital PresidentDiane Kelly speaks during a Zoom press conference in December. Kelly said the hospital will terminate employees who are not vaccinated or refuse weekly COVID tests. The hospital will also offer more Pfizer vaccine COVID shots starting Oct. 2.

Greenwich Hospital PresidentDiane Kelly speaks during a Zoom press conference in December. Kelly said the hospital will terminate employees who are not vaccinated or refuse weekly COVID tests. The hospital will also offer more Pfizer vaccine COVID shots starting Oct. 2.

Tyler Sizemore / Hearst Connecticut Media

GREENWICH — About 30 Greenwich Hospital employees are in danger of termination if they do not get a COVID-19 vaccine or opt for weekly testing.

Greenwich Hospital President Diane Kelly on Wednesday said Greenwich Hospital is enforcing a vaccine and/or testing mandate and those who are not vaccinated or do not submit to weekly testing by Thursday will be subject to termination.

“They’ll receive their first warning this week, followed by a second warning and then our policy is the third warning is the final one,” Kelly said. “We hope we don’t get there with anyone.”

Of the 1,878 employees at Greenwich Hospital, Kelly said 40 of them have received valid exemptions, leaving a total of 30 who must have at least one vaccine shot by Thursday or face weekly testing for COVID-19 “to insure we’re protecting our community.”

The employees who have received exemptions will undergo the weekly testing.

A similar policy kicked in for Greenwich Public Schools staff on Monday. District employees either must be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. Those that don’t will be placed on unpaid leave for a maximum of five days and if they have not been vaccinated or agree to weekly tests after that period, the district will begin the process of terminating their employment.

According to the Director of Communications Jonathan Supranowitz, with more than 2,000 employees, the district needs extra time to “accurately record all of the information to ensure everything that was submitted was received and allow staff ample time to submit their information if unexpected issues occurred.”

“We have a small handful of staff who have received reminders but we are optimistic that most of our staff will be compliant by the end of the week,” Supranowitz said on Wednesday.

First Selectman Fred Camillo had originally set a Sept. 27 deadline for people working as town employees to either be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing but he has said he no longer thinks that is necessary. On Wednesday, he said he has not yet received the numbers of how many town employees have been vaccinated but he feels optimistic.

“It’s looking good,” Camillo said. “Most of the departments are really high in the 80s or even in the 90s. We’re in good shape. We don’t have final numbers yet. ... We’re still trying to determine if we’re going to have a deadline. If all in all we’re in the aggregate at 90 percent, that begs the question of if we’re at herd immunity (among town employees). We haven’t gotten that far yet. We’re telling people to still wear a mask in a town building. I know a few of those who are not vaccinated but are still doing the right thing by wearing a mask. That’s all we can ask. I respect whatever the reasoning is for not getting it. Certainly the ones I spoke to are doing the right thing and we see the results of it.”

After an uptick in cases last week, which followed three weeks of a downward trend, the curve in new cases again dipped lower this past week. On Wednesday, Camillo said there have been 36 new cases of COVID-19 among residents over the past seven days, which is down significantly from the 69 new cases that had been reported the week before.

Of all the cases in town, 52 are considered active by the Department of Health, which is down 16 from the week before. And this comes as the number of residents who are partially vaccinated has gone up to 85.87 percent of the 52,482 eligible people in town while those who are fully vaccinated has also increased to 79.37 percent.

Camillo did report that the number of residents who have died after being diagnosed with COVID-19 has increased by three to 93.

“That’s all good news there except for unfortunately the number of deaths going up three,” Camillo said.

Kelly on Wednesday said there were four COVID-positive patients at Greenwich Hospital , two of whom were unvaccinated. The hospital has one COVID-19 patient in the intensive care unit on a ventilator.

And throughout the Yale New Haven Health System, of which Greenwich Hospital is a part, there were 58 COVID-positive patients, down 15 from the week before.

Greenwich Hospital is taking more appointments now to provide booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine. Kelly said the appointments will be throughout the YNHHS and aimed toward people who are long-term care residents, for those 65 and older and for people age 18 to 64 with underlying conditions or who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure because they work in industries like health care.

“We will keep watching the Center for Disease Control (and Prevention) and see what (guidance) is coming out,” Kelly said.

Currently, only the Pfizer booster is being recommended with instructions to be given no less than six months after their second dose of that vaccine. Speaking as a registered nurse and not on behalf of YNHHS, Kelly said she would recommend getting it.

“If the booster is available to me and I meet one of these criteria, I would go ahead and get it,” Kelly said. “I see no reason not to. I see all the reasons that it could benefit.”

The appointments, which will begin Oct. 2, can be made online at and Kelly said people — who must wear a mask — will be able to come to Greenwich Hospital. Walk-ins will not be allowed. Appointments must be made in advance.