Wilton COVID-19 Update April 24: Questions on Parks & Rec Summer Programs and Nursing Home Cases

AFTER...and what Comstock looks like NOW

On Friday, April 24, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice answered questions she said residents have asked her recently.

  • What has the Town done to help reduce the spread of the virus in hard-hit nursing home facilities?   “As the State’s periodic reporting on nursing homes has shown, these facilities have had a disproportionate share of the State’s Coronavirus cases.  By their nature, in terms of the residents they serve and the services they provide, the facilities are inherently at greater risk. Wilton’s Health Director Barry Bogle, along with Police Captain Rob Cipolla, has focused on Wilton’s one nursing home and six other senior housing communities by among others, performing site visits, making recommendations for additional proactive measures, training staff and assisting with isolation planning. We have deployed Visiting Nurses (source of school nurses) to supplement staff shortages due to illness and have provided protective equipment. After a resident at the School Sisters of Notre Dame facility tested positive (SSND announced the diagnosis), our emergency team, led by Barry, worked with SSND to reactivate the long-term care facility on the property to allow for isolation. According to nursing home data released [Friday], as of April 22, Wilton’s one nursing home accounted for seven of our then 135 laboratory-confirmed cases and 6 laboratory-confirmed Coronavirus deaths.  It’s important to remember that these Wilton residents aren’t just statistics. They are someone’s loved one–a mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, or friend and should be remembered as such.”
  • With delays around the test data, can we rely on it? How do we know if staying home has worked?  With inconsistent data, will we ever meet the 14-day decline benchmark to reopen? “The case data isn’t perfect, but the comparative data between Westchester and Rockland Counties and Fairfield County are evidence that our actions, which were taken more quickly than those counties, are working. Westchester and Rockland have 2.5- to three times the cases per 100,000 people than we have in CT. The purpose of staying home, social distancing, wearing masks and other efforts is to reduce the spread of the virus so as not to overwhelm the hospitals and the healthcare system.  We have done that. This virus hasn’t and isn’t going to be eliminated. Until there is a vaccine, we’ll have to modify our behaviors, especially this fall when the flu season begins again. The benchmarks set by the State are the same benchmarks set by the CDC and the White House Task Force. Testing is key to allow for phased-in reopening, as envisioned by the CDC, the Task Force, and the preliminary comments by the advisors to the Governor. To test, we need available test kits and necessary protective equipment.  Both of these are in short supply in the United States and across the world. Though with new tests being developed and factories reworked, supplies should become more available.  By partnering with CVS and Quest Diagnostics for testing, state officials expect to have access to an expanded supply chain.”
  • When will the Town lift the suspension on disposal of bulky waste and other non-household materials at the Transfer Station?  “Town staff has traditionally been required to come into direct contact with bulky waste and other materials. We are working on new procedures to minimize contact and the risks to employees. We don’t have a roll-out date at this point.”
  • Will Parks and Recreation be offering summer programming? “Decisions on summer programming will be informed by the statewide orders issued by the Governor. In general, we are rethinking programming to determine how we can offer it in a creative way that ensures social distancing and the safety of the participants, Town staff, and contractors. Parks and Recreation services, like many town services, will likely be different than “normal” when we reopen.”

Vanderslice provided the data from the CT Department of Public Health.

“Friday, the CT Department of Public Health reported 23,921 laboratory-confirmed statewide cases with 10,227 or 43% in Fairfield County and 141 in Wilton; 507 cases have not yet been assigned to a municipality. Friday’s test positive rate was 32%. Currently, 2.1% of the State’s population has been tested. Deaths rose by 125 to 1,764 with Fairfield County at 662. The number of patients currently hospitalized decreased by 70 to 1,877 with a decrease of 36 in Fairfield County to 694.  Today’s statewide hospitalizations are less than the level on April 15. The Fairfield County hospitalizations are less than the level on April 13.

“The hospitalization numbers are good news and further evidence of the success of our combined efforts to slow the spread of the virus. Please continue to behave as if you have the virus and as if those around you do as well.