Camillo tells Greenwich residents ‘do not live in fear’ as COVID-19 rate rises in CT

Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo, speaking in 2020 at the start of the pandemic, said residents should not overreact to rising cases of COVID in the state.

Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo, speaking in 2020 at the start of the pandemic, said residents should not overreact to rising cases of COVID in the state.

File / Tyler Sizemore / Hearst Media Connecticut /

GREENWICH — Despite a rising number of COVID-19 cases in Connecticut and the threat of the new omicron variant, First Selectman Fred Camillo said Tuesday he will not reinstitute any pandemic restrictions in Greenwich.

Camillo said he was not planning to mandate the use of masks once again at town-owned buildings or in local businesses.

“I would caution people not to overreact and not live in fear every time there’s a variant,” he said. “There’s going to be more variants after this. We have the flu every year. That’s not going to change. … Continue what you’re doing.”

Camillo said he “wouldn’t hesitate” to restore mask requirements at town buildings if they become needed.

Darien is putting its mask mandate back in place as of Wednesday for visitors in public places of town buildings, including Town Hall. Camillo said any decisions on mask use in Greenwich would be based on state and federal guidelines as well as the town’s numbers and “the advice of experts.”

There have been 6,124 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in Greenwich since the beginning of the pandemic, an increase of 67 case in the past week, town Director of Health Caroline Baisley said. Of those cases, 73 are considered active.

On Tuesday, Gov. Ned Lamont reported a daily positive rate of 5.96 percent in Connecticut, with 907 more cases diagnosed since Monday and 11 more hospitalizations, increasing the total to 365. .

According to state data, the last time the positivity rate surpassed 6 percent was Jan. 24. The weekend positivity rate statewide was 5.25 percent, which was the highest since late March, according to state data.

But due to the vaccines, residents should not have to drastically alter their lives this fall, he said.

“We’re in a much better position than we were last year, and we don’t even know yet the full effect of this latest variant,” Camillo said. “Before people start leaping to conclusions and canceling things and asking about mandates, I would tell people to take it easy and see what happens over the next few weeks.”

Hospitalized patients

As of Tuesday, Greenwich Hospital was treating eight COVID-positive patients — and only one had been vaccinated, said Dr. Karen Santucci, Greenwich Hospital’s senior vice president and chief medical officer.

“People should remain calm, that’s critically important,” said Santucci. “We have knowledge. We have science. We have resources available to us — so getting vaccinated if you’re not vaccinated is going to be critically important. If you have been fully vaccinated, get your booster. … And people should continue to protect themselves and their loved ones with good hand washing technique, wearing a mask and trying not to be in overcrowded situations.”

At holiday gatherings, she suggested that families space out the seating arrangements, use multiple rooms and/or take a walk outdoors.

“With us being so fortunate to have the ability to travel, whether by car or by plane or by train, an unvaccinated person is an unvaccinated person everywhere,” Santucci said. “We’ve got to try to contain this to the best of our ability — and getting vaccinated makes the communicability more controlled to stay ahead of this. One of the more powerful weapons against the spread of this virus is getting vaccinated.”

She noted that the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar — fever, scratchy throat, the loss of sense of smell or taste, headache, fatigue and body aches. Santucci urged residents to also get the flu vaccine as well as the COVID-19 vaccine.

Every age group in town over the age of 12 has a fully vaccinated rate of 80 percent or more — except for the 25- to 44-year-old cohort, which has a rate of 66.8 percent, Camillo said. And children ages 5 to 11 began receiving the vaccine in mid-November.

“We need to keep getting people vaccinated,” he said. “Get your booster shots. Get your flu shot. Keep distancing whenever you can, but do not overreact.”

kborsuk@greenwichtime.com