COVID-19 UPDATE: Town Report; Clothing Drive; Blood Donations; Help For Healthcare Workers; Playhouse Update, And More

As of 4 pm yesterday (Monday), , March 23, 2020, out of the 415 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Connecticut, 74 were from Westport and 4 from Weston.

Westport Weston Health Director Mark Cooper says, “Being ‘hit’ first, we may be first to see the virus start to slow its spread, so long as people self-isolate and socially distance themselves from others. Only time will tell.”

Although no age group is spared, the 40-49 and 50-59 age groups have the highest number of confirmed cases in the state. The 60-69 and over-80 age groups make up the majority of those hospitalized.

According to the WWHD, private company Murphy Medical tested 45 Westport and Weston residents today. However, due to the shortage of test supplies, some of this morning’s tests had to be rescheduled.

WWHD will restart the Westport Weston drive-thru testing site next Tuesday (March 31), testing supplies availability permitting. Appointments can be obtained by filling out forms at

Staples High School junior Remi Levitt runs a great clothing and lifestyle blog, called “Coat of Love.” Now she’s using it to organize a county-wide clothing drive for those affected by the coronavirus.

So, “06880” readers: Clean your closets. Separate items by gender and size, in garbage bags; mark their contests on the outside. Place them by your mailbox or the end of your driveway. Email with your address; they’ll be picked up within 24 hours, and sent to folks in need.

For more information, click here.

Reader Paloma Bima writes that just before all non-essential stores shut down yesterday night, a customer called Compo Farm Flowers. She arranged for delivery of beautiful bouquets to many friends. It was an act of great kindness for them — and for one small, about-to-close business too.

Reader Nicole Klein has been passionate about giving blood for the last 25 years. When she was in college, a sibling was diagnosed with leukemia. Nicole is adopted, so she could not help medically.

She felt helpless that she was unable to donate blood platelets or bone marrow. Then she realized that although she could not help her sibling, she could help others.

“In today’s world of COVID-19, I again have the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness,” she says. “The only thing I could think to do was donate blood. There is an extreme shortage right now. I urge anyone who is healthy and able, to please click here to make an appointment.

“They are amazing and so grateful. During this time of indescribable helplessness, it will help you too.”

Like every gym, Upper Deck Fitness is closed. They’re doing what they can for their clients, using a two-way video platform. It’s a great solution — but not easy.

Yet Upper Deck still wants to help others. So the fitness center is offering a free month of virtual workouts to all nurses, doctors, techs and EMTs.

“Healthcare workers don’t have the liberty of social distancing, so keeping their immunity strong is of utmost priority,” says founder and CEO Suzanne Vita Palazzo.

“This is not just about a workout, but providing them with an hour to release stress and maintain their strength, while receiving support from a fully interactive community.”

The 2-way video service enables a certified coach to keep on eye on all participants. There are over 20 classes a week, all done via any device with an internet connection.

Healthcare professionals: Email with your name and credentials.

National Hall and Upper Deck Fitness.

It’s not quite the way the Westport Country Playhouse expected its 90th season to go.

The iconic theater has pushed its April opening back to July.

The revised 2020 lineup includes the musicals “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Next to Normal,” and a new comedy, “Tiny House,” down from the original 5 productions. “Antigone” and “Blues for an Alabama Sky” have been postponed to future seasons.

The modified season will run from July 14 through October 24.

(Photo/Robert Benson)

Who has time for spring cleaning?

This year, most of us.

Westport Hardware is open for business, with a full supply of whatever you need for your yard, garage, attic, basement, deck, driveway, shed, etc., etc., etc.

As medical personnel desperately seek face shields, Westport Maker guru Mark Mathias says that people with 3D printers can help. For information on what to do, and how, click here. For additional info, email

Yesterday’s post about Tina Dragone drew many comments on “06880” — and hate calls and emails to the store.

C’mon, readers. You’re better than that. She’s a small businesswoman, facing hard times like so many others.

It’s your choice to shop there or not. But personal attacks are definitely not cool.

And finally, in case you need a little reminder about social distancing, click below:




16 responses to “COVID-19 UPDATE: Town Report; Clothing Drive; Blood Donations; Help For Healthcare Workers; Playhouse Update, And More

  1. Any way for the 3D printers at the library to be put to use?

  2. It IS a great idea! And, on behalf of the Westport Library, I’m happy to share it’s one that we are in the process of making happen. Over the weekend, we were able to print two prototype masks, and we are currently speaking with folks to help us get the finished products into the right hands. We’ve also been in touch with MakerSpaces all over Connecticut, and rest assured that many of these spaces are doing their part in helping any way we can.

  3. Kimberly Kasarda

    So why call out Tina Dragone (not that I ever shopped there) and not the WESTPORT Hardware? Not that they deserve a social media bashing. Sounds like a personal vendetta. You should be ashamed of yourself. I’m going to personally shop at her store for the first time after this if her local store survives just because of what you did to her. Do you have any knowledge of what it’s like for small business owners/ obviously not. You caused the hate- YOU DAN WOOG.

    • Well, for one thing, because hardware stores are classified as “essential businesses,” because of the types of goods they sell. Women’s apparel stores are not considered “essential.”

    • Kimberly Kasarda

      You still are the cause of this for her.

      • Arline Gertzoff

        Sorry Dan is not the cause She objected to the Goodwill across the street too.Many small businesses closed immediately as instructed.She comes from a well established family in Bridgeport and I am sure they will come through just fine. I don’t always agree with Dan but he does not deserve to be vilified
        as he was reacting to others contacting him

    • Mary Hoffman

      Silver lining, you will shop there. Dan does not cause hate.

      • Kimberly Kasarda

        What has been promoted is negative and targeted – I don’t know her but am certain she wasn’t the ONLY one in town open that was “non essential”. Do we know anything good she has done or is it all so bad bad bad as everyone apparently publicly states ? Like her we may lose everything too, but if I make it and she does too – I will support her if I can because no one need public shaming at a time like this. By the way I shop Macy’s Target and find sales so don’t quite know what you mean about silver linings??? Or maybe it was someone like you who contacted Woog and encouraged him to write such a disgusting post when we need support and love not hate in our community.

        • John Terrance

          So you say now is not the time for public shaming, and yet what are you currently trying to do? You say we need love and support, well where is yours? Dan is providing a service by reporting on events in town, is that somehow a bad thing? Having read the original (now removed) article, it seemed rather neutral in tone. There was nothing negative about the writing. Some of readers formed strong opinions based on the article, but how exactly is that Dan’s fault?

          • Kimberly Kasarda

            Because he has a responsibility and should stick to the positive. I’m in no way shaming – I have an opinion to write a COMMENT REPLY- not a public article. Way different

            • John Terrance

              He wrote a neutral article, people had their own strong opinions based on it, so you try to shame the person that wrote the article? And yes, you are shaming him. Reread your first few comments. “You caused the hate” sure sounds like shaming. And you’re free to disagree, just as I’m free to express my own opinion that you’re not being helpful to anybody at this time with your confusing and misplaced sense of anger. Perhaps you should be more positive

              • To be clear, I think Dan provides an enormous service to the community with this website. And 99.9% of the time he gets it right. He covers local matters thoroughly and doesn’t cover town matters through rose-colored glasses.

                But the original story (which I think has been removed?) was anything but neutral and included a one-sentence paragraph along the lines of “I am appalled.”

                Tina Dragone was an easy target, given her selfish statements in the past. But her email was encouraging people to make appointments to come in for one-on-one personalized appointments. This was not encouraging a crush of traffic that would create an unsafe environment.

                As such, the initial coverage was, at best, unfortunate. I find it hard to believe that the business would be receiving threats had not their promotion been given a story. Though, given the past with the owner, I’m not sure how much I believe the claims of threats, either.

              • William Stritmatter

                As I recall, Dan’s original article on the morning of the 23rd, particularly the first several sentences, was rather inflammatory and far from neutral. It arguably fell under the category of “inciting a mob” triggering not only angry comments but “hate mail and emails to the store” as referenced in this article by Dan.

                Presumably that is why Dan thoughtfully posted a second, more neutral, article later that afternoon and, subsequently, removed the original article.

  4. Wendy Cusick

    Ok. Folks. News from multiple sources.
    The State of Connecticut has 3 field hospitals. One is set up outside St Francis Hospital in Hartford. The next one going to be erected at Danbury Hospital.
    Modern day M.A.S.H 2020 style
    (for the younger generation that reads this blog, M.A.S.H was real. It stands for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. The TV show was based on book by Richard Hooker on what happened on the medical side of the Korean War)
    The NY National Guard and Army Corp of Engineers are converting the nation’s largest venue The Jacob Javitts Convention Center into a hospital .
    (Jacob Javitts has connections to Westport being a trustee while he served as an attorney and apparently owned property for himself in the Greens Farms Signal Lane area according to a comment from the Photo Challenge).
    Westchester County Center in White Plains and both SUNY universities on Long Island Stony Brook and Old Westbury are also turning into hospitals.

  5. Wendy Cusick

    More news. Devil’s Den Preserve has been closed because people over crowded, clogged and blocked the residental road and parking lot to the preserve.
    Please, everyone use some common sense. If it looks packed, look for another preserve or land trust. You’ll continue to lose places to got to if you keep acting like this.
    You can read the Nature Conservatory of Connecticut post below.

    Also when it comes to reporting what’s happening you sometimes you have be realistic.
    You can’t sugar coat reality.
    Not everyone is going to like what’s being written. You just have to roll with it.
    It’s a hard pill to swallow but that’s life.

    • If a few more of our large open spaces remained accessible (ahem, Compo Beach), folks might not be unsafely crowding in those that remain.

      Sherwood Island SP remains open – I walk my dog there first thing in the morning, safely distanced from the few people who go immediately when it opens – but (in doing drive-throughs at other times) it is getting more and more crowded, with Tuesday’s afternoon crowd being comparable to winter weekends during “normal” times.

      I’ve heard that the Southport Harbor area (public roads that can’t be blocked off) is now packed. And Norwalk’s Cranbury Park (227 acres!) is now closed.

      The directive is not “stay inside” but “socially isolate.” But fewer LARGE accessible outdoor spaces give people fewer opportunities to go outside without almost literally running into one another.