Marpe: Good Job So Far. Stay Vigilant!

1st Selectman Jim Marpe says:

Much has transpired over the past few months. I want to update Westport residents on a number of COVID-19 issues.

Westport was at the forefront of activity when the initial wave of COVID-19 cases came to this region in the late winter/early spring of 2020. I am proud of the town’s response then, and I am equally proud of, and impressed by, our ongoing diligence and hard work to control the virus. To those whose health has been directly impacted and affected by the virus, we extend our comfort and support.

It is important to stress that while “COVID fatigue” and complacency are natural responses as the conditions have extended into the fall, we must continue to stay vigilant and appropriately manage our activities during this ongoing public health crisis.

It is incumbent upon all of us to do our part to avoid another outbreak. Everyone must be mindful and respectful of our families, neighbors, friends, and work colleagues when considering any behavior, including social activities, that may be counter to medical advice and the protocols that have been established to protect the community from the virus.

When the power went out during Tropical Storm Isais, Westporters took advantage of the library’s WiFi — masked and socially distanced, of course. (Photo/Miggs Burroughs)

I am encouraged that Westport has reopened businesses, restaurants and other services using the State of Connecticut guidelines. We continue to monitor the results. To date, strict adherence to the sector rules has helped us minimize the number of COVID cases.

Please continue to wear a face covering whenever you are in a public setting and cannot maintain a 6-foot distance. Maintain social distancing whenever and wherever it is necessary. Obey all the rules and conditions posted in local businesses and public spaces.

On Thursday, Governor Lamont announced additional reopening guidance that will bring the state closer to Phase III beginning October 8. This step specifically increases the patron capacity at indoor establishments such as restaurants, salons and libraries, outdoor event venues, religious establishments and performing arts venues. Of course, social distancing and mask wearing are emphasized in these plans.

Church Lane will continue to be closed to vehicles through October 31 — and open for outdoor dining.

Bars continue to remain closed. While it is not a full Phase III as was previously envisioned, we are encouraged that the governor considers up-to-date trends on COVID that will ultimately help businesses, arts and cultural institutions and places of worship get closer to operating at full capacity. For more details on the Governor’s plan visit Portal.CT.Gov.

The Westport Weston Health District remains an invaluable resource for those residents seeking information and guidance related to COVID-19, the upcoming flu season, and other health-related issues that affect our community. For daily updates and case numbers, please visit their site at www.wwhd.org.

Recent issues addressed by the WWHD include:

  • The WWHD has noted an increase in positive cases within younger age groups. As residents may know, there have been positive cases identified in the Westport Public Schools. The public school administration is working closely with medical personnel and the WWHD to respond quickly and appropriately. Please be mindful that it is possible to be COVID-19 positive but not experience any symptoms. To reduce the spread of infection, remember the 3W‘s (Wear a mask, Watch your distance, and Wash your hands).
  • Flu vaccines are highly recommended and are available through your health care provider and at various area pharmacies. The Health District hosted 2 flu clinics in September, and plans to offer additional vaccination clinics as supplies become available.
  • Vibriosis:  There has been an increasing number of Vibrio vulnificus (Vv) cases reported to the Connecticut Department of Public Health related to the Long Island Sound. Vv is always a risk when water temperatures are greater than 68°F, and the risk is greater depending on the pathogenic strains that are circulating. Those with cuts, abrasions, recent surgery or other wounds should avoid brackish water along Long Island Sound. This applies to dogs as well. More information from the CDC can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/vibrio/healthcare.html.

(Photo/Les Dinkin)

Halloween

  • The CDC recently released guidance stating that “Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses. There are several safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween.” The town has established a workgroup with town officials, the public school administration and members of the PTA to discuss how the Westport community may celebrate Halloween in a manner that keeps COVID health and safety protocols at the forefront. Further information and plans will be forthcoming.

12 responses to “Marpe: Good Job So Far. Stay Vigilant!

  1. This phrase concerned me a bit: “Please continue to wear a face covering whenever you are in a public setting and cannot maintain a 6-foot distance.” The guidelines suggest a face mask in public, period — especially indoors. Last thing we need is people in stores or the library taking off their masks because they don’t see anyone nearby. In addition, the CDC has been clear that the six-foot recommendation is just an approximate minimum distance. Despite the fact that no one seems to want to practice social distancing anymore, staying apart is still an effective tool in the fight against COVID, even when you’re visiting with friends (and not in public). I know we don’t want to inconvenience anyone, but the clearer we can be on the actual recommendations, the better chance we have of people following them.

    • Irene Mastriacovo

      Agreed. And should include the beach area. I still see approx 85% not wearing masks while on the walkways. Albeit we are outdoors, the walkways are narrow and it is not always possible to be 6+ feet apart.

    • The elephant in the town here is the double standard being set for Westport and Fairfield County residents at large and kids sports teams. Take a look at what is going on after school and on the weekends on the fields and on the roads. Outside, yes, but you will see dozens and dozens of student athletes congregating and playing without masks, not social distancing. I don’t understand why so much effort is being directed toward people in outdoor public places having to wear masks and stay at least six feet apart when this directive is completely overlooked on school campuses not just in Westport but across the county. In my opinion, the kids should be wearing masks (like their coaches). Why is this obvious break in protocol not being discussed or addressed by our town and school leaders?

  2. It would be nice to see some data on recovery not just the daily count.It would be uplifting for all. Are 375 people currently ill? or have some recovered.? This was brought to my attention by a lady I met who has recovered and is doing fine.

    • I agree, Arline. Selectman Marpe, your press releases on this subject are overly long, airless and frankly, a little depressing. And it’s hard to ignore the feeling that I’m being talked down to.

  3. Jim,

    Thank you again for your leadership in guiding our town through this crisis. We have been fortunate to be able to have forms of “normal” like our beach, live music downtown, outdoor dining, and use of our parks and recreational facilities.
    This new world we are living in is not perfect. Everyday we are dealing with change, and constantly evolving guidelines from Hartford.
    We should all be proud of the way your administration has been able to pivot on the fly as these changes occur. Where other communities have failed, your team has continued to allow us the opportunity to “mask up” and keep our community whole.
    Leadership Matters- Thank you for always putting Westport first, and LEADING!!!

    • Easy, cowboy. Don’t forget, you cheerfully signed that petition last year asking the Administration to remove the thousands of yards of contaminated fill it illegally dumped in Barons South Park. Last I knew, the glop’s all still there; loud and proud. And everybody knows it’s never leaving.

  4. Morley, Wishing you and your family a wonderful weekend. Speaking of the dirt that was moved from where addition for our Seniors was completed; You and others with concerns, can tune in to The Board of Selectman Meeting at 7:00 PM Eastern Standard Time Wednesday September 30th, 2020.

    • Thanks for your kind wishes, Jimmy.

      I’m aware of the glop’s pending date with destiny at the Board of Selectmen as some of us have not forgotten that the Administration promised to return to the RTM with a remediation plan by NO LATER than March 4th of this year – and have thus been prodding it with some regularity.

      However, the Board of Selectmen these days is not a place where hard questions are often asked. Thus, I’m pretty confident that instead of actually removing the contaminated fill that was illegally dumped by our own government in flagrant violation of the Senior Center Expansion project’s approved site plan (a scheme to save a lousy $15,000) the town will attempt a sort of enviro combover.

      Rather than restore the site to the wildlife meadow that existed before the above mentioned vandalism occurred, expect to learn that the contaminated fill will be spread even further around the poor, deteriorating park, Cat in the Hat style, to sort of hide the evidence. It may not be leadership but it’s definitely the path of least resistance.

      Here’s hoping I’m wrong.

      M.

      • Well, Jimmy, sorry to say it, but I wasn’t wrong.

        The Board of Selectmen just voted to do exactly nothing about the arsenic laced fill which was illegally dumped in Barons South Park by our own local government.

        What was that you were saying about leadership?

  5. Morley,

    I hope you had a nice Saturday. Speaking of Baron South, It was an honor to help save it with you, and others from the “land grab” that was proposed. I hope you will join me in supporting Chip Stephens for 136. I know he truly has Westport’s interest FIRST before any political party if we get him to Hartford.

    Best,

    Jimmy

    • Chip’s a good man and, as you state, truly has Westport’s best interests in mind. I’ll never forget the risk that he and a few other commissioners took back in the day to halt what many felt was a bad deal for our community in Barons South. He must have known that vote had the potential to harm him. But he did it anyway because he knew it was right. That’s leadership.

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