BREAKING NEWS: March 26, 2020, 10 p.m.–In her nightly update for Wilton residents about the town’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice brought sad news: the virus had claimed the lives of two Wilton residents.
“I am very saddened to share that two elderly Wilton residents, who tested positive with Coronavirus, have passed away. I know you all join me in sending thoughts and prayers to their families and friends,” she wrote.
The news made her philosophical and she wrote about the perspective that she hoped Wilton residents would have as a result of hearing it. She added that perhaps it would reinforce exactly the kind of sacrifice that people need to be making in order to prevent more people from dying.
“Statistically, residents aged 65 and older are at higher risk should they contract the virus. Upon learning of today’s news, I reflected upon the sacrifice so many residents in that same age range have made for our country, with many putting their lives on hold and at risk to serve in World War II, the Korean War or Vietnam War. For Veterans Day, Wilton school children and their parents attend school assemblies where students speak of their gratitude for the service of those veterans. Well, those veterans and their families need your gratitude now. Not in words, but in actions. Actions that can prevent those same veterans from becoming sick and at risk. Please, show that gratitude and respect them by behaving as if you have the virus and as if those around you do as well. Stay home, don’t congregate in groups, and follow the directives of federal, state and local officials,” she wrote.
Along those lines, Vanderslice said officials are receiving “many calls and emails about crowded trails, use of private clubs closed by order of the Governor and use of fields closed by the Town.”
She reiterated her plea for people to keep distance.
“Please respect the orders. Wilton has never been the type of community that requires heavy handed enforcement. We don’t want to see that happen now, nor do we want to put people at risk of exposure in doing so. There are many calling for the Governor to require Connecticut residents to shelter-in-place. Both the course of the virus and the actions of citizens will determine the Governor’s decision on this matter,” she added.
Total Cases–Reliability of State Numbers vs. Town Numbers
Vanderslice revealed that the total number of cases that the CT Department of Public Health (DPH) has for Wilton doesn’t match up with the total number of cases that Wilton’s Public Health Department has recorded.
“Today’s report from CT DPH indicates that there are still 17 laboratory-confirmed cases in Wilton, while the Wilton Public Health Department is aware of at least 20 laboratory-confirmed cases. CT DPH reported one additional death in Fairfield County while we know there were at least two additional,” she wrote.
This confirms what Vanderslice said she learned today after being forwarded an email from Dr. Matthew Cartter, the State’s Chief Epidemiologist, clarifying why the state would cease giving out total numbers of cases by municipality.
“In that email, Cartter indicated at this point in the pandemic, local health departments will hear about cases directly from hospitals and providers that the CT Department of Public Health (DPH) does not know about, and that it wouldn’t be long before CT DPH would not be able to provide even an approximate count of the number of people with Coronavirus in CT. He advised that as the pandemic intensifies, CT DPH would need to switch to just counting hospitalizations and deaths,” Vanderslice explained.
She cautioned that the numbers she had for statewide data were likely understated and inaccurate.
“Although the CT DPH numbers are understated and I loathe providing inaccurate data, I will continue to report the numbers only because so many of you have asked me to do so. Today CT DPH reports 1,012 laboratory-confirmed cases, with 607 in Fairfield County and 21 deaths statewide, with 13 in Fairfield County,” she wrote.
She added that anyone who has received a confirmed or presumptive positive test who has not been contacted by the Wilton Health Department to please contact the department.
Volunteers and Donations for Emergency Responders
Vanderslice thanked all the volunteers who signed up with Wilton Helping Hands, a volunteer network that resident Peg Koellmer organized to address the needs of Wilton’s most vulnerable population. Volunteers will be able to assist at a social distance with doorstep drop off of basic necessities or by making daily calls or sending emails. To volunteer, please call 203.451.8479. Residents can refer other people in need of help by emailing the director of Wilton Social Services, Sarah Heath.
She also addressed the tide of interest from residents eager to make donations to help Wilton’s emergency responders.
“We are not asking for food donations for emergency responders, but many of you are asking how to make donations. We suggest gift cards to local restaurants or markets which will allow them to purchase food/meals. Gift cards can be left at Town Hall, Monday through Friday between 8:30-11:30 a.m., in the drop box in the vestibule at the back of the building. Gift cards should be put in an envelope addressed to Sarah Gioffre, Community Affairs Coordinator,” she wrote, adding that the town cannot accept home cooked meals, baked goods, or catered food at this time.
- Details on the Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program, including the application form are now available online. Businesses or nonprofits with 100 or less employees are eligible.
- We are expecting an order regarding bonding referendums. Otherwise, with no Annual Town Meeting this May, we will need to hold a special Town Meeting, at some date in the future, for consideration of proposed bonding, including funds to pave an additional 15 miles and to replace the WHS stadium track.
As always, if you have any questions, email me or the appropriate town department.