COVID-19 Roundup: Neighbors Rally; Face Mask Collections; Informative Videos, And More

Someone’s doing great things in the Gorham Avenue/Evergreen neighborhood.

They’re distributing notes in residents’ mailboxes, along with colored paper. The notes ask residents to put the appropriate color in a street-facing window. Green indicates “all ok.” Red means “need supplies.” Yellow is for “elderly/living alone or isolated/mobility issues.”

The note promises that neighbors will monitor the signs, and act as needed. It also offers a phone number to call or text if supplies are needed. Residents can also call that number if they want to help others.

What a great idea — and easy to replicate, in any neighborhood! (Hat tip: Mark Mathias)

Westporter Stephanie Webster’s CTBites is always a great way to keep up with restaurants and bars all around the state. This week’s edition offers comprehensive coverage of places that are open for pickup and delivery throughout Connecticut. There’s also a story about chefs doing good things, and ways everyone else can help them and others.

Click here for details. There are tons of them!

Greens Farms Congregational Church worship, meetings and religious school are now held online.

But yesterday congregants gathered together — 6 feet apart, of course — at a drive-thru food drive for Inspirica in Stamford (where homeless families struggle without the usual supply of donated food and volunteers to help), and Pivot Ministries (a men’s recovery mission in Bridgeport). It’s social distance — and social support — at its best.

The Yale New Haven Health System needs disposable head covers and caps; disposable gowns, gloves and face masks; N95 respirator face masks; powered air purifying respirators; face shields and goggles; coveralls and scrubs; shoe covers; disinfection wipes and liquids, and general purpose hand cleaners.

All should be in original, unopened packages. Email Include contact information so staff can respond.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Newman — a physician assistant at New York Presbyterian / Weill Cornell — is collecting face masks because of the critical shortages at all hospitals in the are, including hers.

She  has already picked up hundreds in the area, and can pick up tens to hundreds more from doorsteps in the evenings. Email Anyone with access to larger quantities shoud contact to ship them directly.

Elizabeth notes, “I don’t want to take supplies from local hospitals if they need them. If anyone has any to spare they can also try to donate to the local hospital or EMS station. If they don’t need them I’m happy to bring them into the city.

“Also if owners of spas, tattoo parlors, salons, etc. that are shutting down can spare theirs, I know Governor Cuomo is willing to purchase masks at a premium,which could help offset their business losses.”

Garelick & Herbs offers 20% off for any orders of in-kind donating to elderly, low-immune deficiency or in need neighbors. Contact them to help coordinate this; also contact if you are interested in helping in other ways: social distancing delivery, phoning those who are isolated, etc. Email or; call or text 203-913-9737.

As students adjust to distance learning, Staples High School principal Stafford Thomas is a clear, calming presence.

This morning he offered his second video update. He discussed next steps for students and staff, AP tests, social distancing and more. You don’t have to be a high schooler or parent to appreciate today’s news. Click here, then scroll down under “Announcements” to March 23, and click on the video.

Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb appeared yesterday on CBS-TV’s “Face the Nation.” He spoke “outside his Connecticut home” — which, as “06880” readers know, is in Westport.

Click below for the informative interview.

(Hat tip: Dennis Jackson)

As visitors to Aspetuck Land Trust’s 44 trailed preserves increase dramatically — particularly Trout Brook Valley — the non-profit reminds visitors to leave dogs at home. Unfortunately, they create too many opportunities for close human contact. In addition, Aspetuck will closely monitor all areas, to make sure there is proper social distancing. Click here for information on all the preserves.


Back to face masks.

Lea Kaner is the mother of former 2nd Selectman Avi Kaner and fellow Westporter Celia Offir. When the virus hit, over 1,300 employees in her family’s business — Morton Williams supermarkets — had no face masks.

Unpacking shipments, stocking shelves and checking out customers, those men and women are on the front lines. So Lea — an expert seamstress — stepped up.

Kaner and his wife Liz found pattern cut sheets and instructions on the internet. They drove to a store in Milford, and filled the car with fabric and ribbons. Then Lea went to work.

She’s still working almost non-stop to make sure every employee is protected. Plus, they’re the best looking face masks around.


8 responses to “COVID-19 Roundup: Neighbors Rally; Face Mask Collections; Informative Videos, And More

  1. First, please don’t send legit masks/respirators out-of-state. Docs and hospitals need them locally. They desperately need them. There are actually patients coming from NY into CT hospitals which is not a good situation. Contact Jenna to make donations. Second, Kaner’s mask idea is not safe. Those masks will NOT protect someone from getting covid19. The coronavirus will go right through the fabric. For someone that is sick, putting anything over their nose/mouth could help cut down on the spread of droplets / viral load entering the air as they cough/sneeze, but normal breathing through the mask will likely put the virus into the air.

  2. David Abrams, CIH

    Echoing what Joshua Stein wrote, those masks offer virtually no protection for the wearer. Not only with the virus particles go through the mask, they will go around the edges. This is why all employees who are required to wear such “masks” must wear one that are NIOSH approved and properly fit to the wearer. The masks that are Ms. Kaner has put together work so poorly that their use in a required situation is actually illegal.

    • joshua stein

      and to add fake / homemade masks actually have been said to be a hotbed of viral and bacterial growth. here is a write-up i posted online:

      Many Westporters have come together during these tough times. Jenna has been a godsend collecting donations of masks/respirators and distributing them to local doctors/medical professionals. If you have new legitimate masks/respirators, please consider contacting Jenna and making a donation!

      I would like to take a moment to cover some mask/respirator basics that I’ve learned since there is much misinformation floating around:

      – N100/P100 respirators are the best filtration at 99.97%. N99/P99 are second best. N95/P95 third best with only 95% filtration.
      – Disposable means disposable, not meant to be reused. Washing them in soap and water does NOT kill the virus. In fact, it may spread the virus. Proper ratio of bleach kills the virus but can also destroy masks and their ability to filter the virus. Thus, unfortunately, disposable masks are really, disposable. The virus can live for around three days on surfaces, so if you have no other choice, you might consider safely setting a used mask aside for 3-4 days before re-using it, if you MUST reuse.
      – Surgical masks do not stop the virus. They do help reduce droplets / viral load from being injected into the air by those that are sick and coughing/sneezing, etc. But they only stop the larger particles aka DROPLETS. If this virus is airborne, which there are many indications that it is, the mere fact of someone breathing can put the virus into the air, most of it will go right through the surgical mask/fabric, where it can live for around three hours floating around in the air.
      – Masks made out of sheets, clothing, undergarments, bathing suits, fabrics, 3D printed out of plastic, etc, do not stop the virus. They are unsafe. Please do not distribute them to others and give them false sense of security. It puts lives at risk.
      – Homemade masks can be dangerous. In order for a mask to be effective, it needs to be designed and tested as well as custom fit to the face. Any gaps that allow air to pass through unfiltered make them practically useless from an airborne virus. Homemade masks can also be a hot bed for bacteria and viruses and some studies show that wearing a poorly designed mask is likely WORSE than not wearing any mask.
      – As far as I know, Hospitals are not accepting donations of homemade aka fake masks. They were originally not accepting any donations of PPE but are now starting to accept donations of LEGITIMATE PPE made by LEGITIMATE vendors.
      – Hospitals and doctors are also in need of other PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) in addition to masks/respirators including eye goggles, face shields, disposable gowns/coveralls, gloves, hand sanitizer, etc. I think most are willing to pay for these items but the supply chain has been interrupted and its near impossible to procure, even for medical purposes. If someone knows of a supplier with stock, please do share!
      – There are TONS and TONS of Coronavirus / Covid19 scams floating around. Please be wary of anyone seeking donations. Please be wary of any information you read online and be sure to fact check.

  3. John D McCarthy

    Great work Gorham/Evergreen neighborhood!

  4. Jill Greenberg

    On the Brian Lehrer show this morning a NYC OSHA nurse mentioned that also approved for use by those at the front line are N95 respirator masks used in the construction industry. So unused, new N95 respirator masks currently held by construction companies could be donated to the proper agencies. I am not sure if that referred only to NY or all across the US.

    • yes! n95/p95/n99/p99/n100/p100 respirator masks used in the construction industry would be a decent choice!

  5. Cheryl McKenna Kritzer

    You can’t win today Dan best to rest and wait until tomorrow….
    Thank you again for keeping Westport interested and informed no matter what the topic is !

  6. Defying CDC recommendations, stating handmade cloth masks aren’t effective, or stating one may be better off wearing nothing over a cloth mask is preposterous. I do see these comments are over a month old, but I’d like to promote cloth masks, or any clean mask that is worn and cared for properly, and request other comments be taken into prospective since they were written at the end of March.
    Masks should not provide false security, but why play with fire? Is this a time to forget basic science, knowing full well that a droplet projected across the room from an infected person is bound to affect more people in that room than if that single cough was covered? This virus is extremely easy to contract, but it doesn’t defy physics.
    For those who are forced to work the front line, or for someone like myself who rarely (once every 2 weeks) goes out into public areas where people congregate or shop, and always wears a mask of some sort, Thank You for being an advocate, for covering your mouth and nose. Stating that a cloth mask is useless or a “hot bed of disease” is harmful and dangerous for those that need to mask-up before going out but DO NOT because they read a comment on a blog. With that stated a homemade mask that is washed in a machine, stored, and handled correctly is obviously not fit for medical use, but providing people (with instructions) and distributing masks to as many people as possible may just be one of the more seminal acts during this time of uncertainty that a person can do! My hat goes off to those who’ve spent hours upon hours making face masks and face covers and distributing them for those that do not have access or may not feel comfortable wearing a one dollar disposable dust mask.
    A symptomless disease like this, one that we have yet to learn as much as we’d like at this point, should not be ignored by inaction of simple hand washing and social distancing. It only makes sense to correctly cover (with clean hands) as many holes in your head as possible with clean, disinfected material. The fact is, COVID-19 is extremely contagious and spreads “through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs..”
    So once again folks that need to social distance but are not as much as they can–please reconsider your actions and listen to CDC recommendations of “wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.” Mask-Up and Stay Safe! Stay Home if You Can —
    This road will be longer if we don’t stop and think about those who are more susceptible to this disease, because ultimately those healthy carriers returning from the beach, not masking and not social distancing will be the demise of those promoting and making handmade masks for as many people as they can — it doesn’t have to be that way.

    -Space Cadet