Wilton COVID-19 Update, March 25: Be Prepared & Plan–Virus Rapidly Spreading in Wilton

First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice published her nightly update on Wednesday, March 25, and the theme was about planning–how the town is planning and how Wilton residents need to plan–and need to do so now.

“As the virus continues to rapidly spread throughout Wilton, the State and the greater New York City area, if you haven’t already done so, it is important to develop a plan for yourself and anyone living with you as to how you will manage if one or more of you test positive,” Vanderslice wrote. “Plans should be made as to how to isolate within the same household, how to handle meals for the patient, what if both Mom and Dad are sick and other such scenarios. If you live alone, make sure you have a network you can contact in case you need meals or other supplies left on your doorstep. Many people with the disease become weak, so if you do live alone, think strategically about where you would want to place a bed and still be able to care for yourself.

According to the CT Department of Public Health, there are 17 laboratory-confirmed cases in Wilton (and 546 in Fairfield County). There have been 19 deaths statewide, 12 of which are in Fairfield County.

Vanderslice wrote that she believes the Wilton numbers are underreported, and urges anyone who has received a confirmed or presumptive positive test and who has not been contacted by the Wilton Health Department, to reach out to the department.

Anyone who has a fever, cough and/or shortness of breath should call a doctor–only a doctor can approve someone for testing.

Town in Continual Planning Mode

Vanderslice described the Town officials as “in a continual planning mode” when it comes to preparations for how the town will deal with the impact of coronavirus.

She explained those plans and operations:  “We are holding three regularly scheduled Emergency Operations Committee meetings per week, plus additional meetings as required.  We have already executed a plan for potential sheltering of exposed emergency services personnel and non-hospitalized emergency services personnel, who have tested positive. Fortunately, we haven’t yet had a need for it. We are executing a plan for potential sheltering of our vulnerable population and non-hospitalized residents with the virus, who live alone and may need assistance. Emergency Management Director and Chief of Police John Lynch is spearheading our participation in developing regional facilities. All of us are participating in region-wide or statewide calls either daily or more frequently.”

Disturbing testing and results data

There’s a lot about the data and testing statistics that is disturbing. The growth in Wednesday’s number of cases in CT continued the trend of exceeding that of the prior day. Vanderslice said this increase was expected as more residents are tested. Event more alarming, the rate of positive tests has increased.

“Tuesday, the state reported an increase in total tests of 800 and an increase in positive tests of 203 or 25% positive. Wednesday, the increases were 598 [total tests] and 257 [positive tests], or 43% positive,” Vanderslice said.

The numbers are evidence of “why we all must behave as if we have the virus and as if those around us do as well,” says Vanderslice, who explained:  “To date, 5,898 residents have been tested, with 875 testing positive. This means over 5,000 were sick enough to qualify for testing, but are sick with something else other than coronavirus. There are also residents who aren’t yet sick enough to qualify for testing or those that are carrying the virus and may never show any symptoms.”

Perhaps even more alarming? During a call Vanderslice was on with the Governor and his staff on Wednesday, state officials said that the CT Department of Public Health will soon stop releasing the number of confirmed cases for each municipality; town officials will not be allowed to release the number either. Vanderslice said she is trying to find out more information about this.

Signs will caution:  “Practice social distancing”

The Town has ordered signs to put up in public places encouraging people to keep their distance from one another.

“We are ordering ‘practice social distancing’ signs to place in open spaces, like the Town Forest and Ambler Farm, but please, in the meantime, keep your distance on the trails and in the parking lots. Please do not impede safe passage on Autumn Ridge Road. If the parking lot is full, please return at a different time.”

Donations

Residents have been generous, Vanderslice said.

“During this time, the community has been incredibly generous, with many reaching out asking how to donate food to police, fire and other personnel. Community affairs coordinator Sarah Gioffre will be overseeing those donations,” she said, promising more details in her next update.

She gave specific instructions for where residents can donate medical supplies:  “Donations of medical supplies for the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps should be placed in the container outside their headquarters located on the Town Campus,” (yellow house to the right, past the Police Department and DPW garages).

Other Information

Other details Vanderslice noted:

  • “Unfortunately, multiple car burglaries and two stolen vehicles occurred in the area of Cannon Road and Hurlbutt Street. As before, these criminals only return, if they are successful. Please lock your vehicles.”
  • “The Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program will soon make $25 million available for loans at 0%. These are 18-month loans for businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 100 employees. Information will be available soon.”
  • “Later this week, Metro North will begin an essential service schedule. You can read the full announcement here.”

As always, if you have any questions, email me or the appropriate town department.