Tag Archives: Coronavirus

Unsung Heroes #139

As the coronavirus pandemic rages, we are surrounded by heroes.

Neighbors look out for the elderly, the infirm, the lonely. A doctor collects face masks for her colleagues. Teenagers run errands for strangers.

There’s a different vibe today than 2 weeks ago. And while much of it is dark and foreboding, another part is as bright as the spring that is right around the corner.

I could cite hundreds of folks as Unsung Heroes. In the weeks ahead, I will.

Please email me with individual nominations (dwoog@optonline.net). Countless people are doing wonderful things, every COVID day. Some impact thousands; others, just one.

All are important. I want to hear — and celebrate — them.

But today, if you’ve done something nice and good and kind in the days since the coronavirus came to town, give yourself a pat on the back.

You are our Unsung Hero!

The Greens Farms Congregational Church food collection for organizations in Bridgeport and Stamford — at a safe social distance, of course — is one of countless acts of kindness we’ve seen over the past two weeks.

 

 

Westport Connected: Send Photos And Videos Now!

Westporters keep coming up with great ideas to stay connected.

The latest is as simple as its name: WestportConnected.

The goal is to go beyond the usual social media platforms. Organizers Marcy Sansolo, Darcy Hicks, Lisa Newman, Jaime Bairaktaris and Melissa Kane — a who’s who of creative, concerned and well-connected neighbors — invite fellow Westporters to share a message by sending either a photo (of yourself and/or your family and/or pets), or a video (no longer than 10 seconds!).

Want to say hi to everyone? Send a photo! (Photo courtesy of Bob Weingarten)

You can also offer services or support, as a professional or someone willing to help. Just take a photo or video, holding up a poster with what you can do, and your contact info.

Need ideas? Organizers suggest:

  • Messages of love and support to fellow Westporters
  • An activity that you or your family is doing to keep sane
  • Services you can offer for people who can’t leave their homes: lawn work, shopping, outdoor repairs, etc.
  • Support contacts to get help for depression, spousal abuse, addiction, etc. If you are a professional or sponsor who can offer support, let people know how to reach you
  • Share lessons via Zoom or other virtual conferencing appointments: music or art lessons, meditation sessions, workout routines, etc.

Are you a therapist who can meet clients online? Let us know!

There aren’t many rules. Just be positive!

Organizers say, “this is an attempt to recover some of the life we’re missing due to quarantine. It’s a reminder for all of us that no one is alone.”

Of course, “06880” is happy to help. Messages will be made into a video — and it will be posted here on Monday (March 30).

Send your photos and videos to WestportConnected@gmail.com. The deadline is 4 p.m. this Friday (March 27).

Connect now. Then get ready to be uplifted on Monday!

 

Rev. Alison Patton: The Story The NY Times Should Have Told

The New York Times’ now-famous piece on the coronavirus in Westport — “How a Soirée in Connecticut Became a Super Spreader” — included a photo of The Rev. Alison J. Buttrick Patton.

The caption noted that the Saugatuck Congregational Church minister “led an online fellowship hour with parishioners on Sunday after her church in Westport closed.”

That was it. No quotes or insights from one of our town’s most caring residents — a wise, insightful observer of all that goes on here.

Many Westporters thought there must have been more to her brief appearance in the Times. 

There is. Rev. Patton writes:

When a New York Times reporter called to ask me how Westport was responding to the virus, I thought she had a great opportunity to write an article about the creative ways that communities are navigating the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s not the story the Times chose to publish. So I thought I’d write that story.

Rev. Alison J. Buttrick Patton

This has been a profoundly trying few weeks. Contending with the virus itself, the related fears, and the disrupted schedules has put a strain on all of us.

In the words of pastor and public theologian Nadia Bolz-Weber: “We’re not only experiencing a pandemic of COVID-9, we are also experiencing an ‘epidemic of disappointment.’”

How many of us have had plans derailed: championship games, theatrical performances, business engagements or family vacations? How many have lost income, access to hot meals or life-saving support systems?

That’s a lot of grief, even if we do manage to avoid or ride out the virus itself. And of course, there are those who have contracted COVID-19. This pandemic has been hard on our hearts.

We are all scrambling to adjust, to stay safe and grounded. But here’s what has struck me: We are also working hard to stay connected as a community. Saugatuck Congregational Church, along with most other faith communities in the region, has suspended in-person worship.

But like all our other faith communities, Saugatuck is finding alternative ways to stay in touch, counter isolation, encourage people and feed spirits. We are urging physical distancing while sustaining social connection. The responses I’ve witnessed remind me that we have an amazing capacity to adapt, when our connectedness is at stake.

I have so many examples. There’s the 91-year-old member who asked for technical assistance so she could participate in our online bible study by Zoom, and the member who joined our Sunday morning social hour via Zoom from his hospital bed — just 2 days after major surgery!

Saugatuck Congregational Church has anchored Westport for centuries.

There’s the patience everyone has shown, as we figure out how to use technologies that are new to many of us. We are muddling through with remarkable humor.

As one Saugatuck member observed, in response to our Zoom social hour and online small groups, ”What we’re doing is totally different, but really touching and human.”

I know it’s not just Saugatuck Church. Creative efforts to stay connected are springing up all over town. I suspect that everyone reading this will have a story to add. There’s the Westport neighborhood where residents circulated red, green and yellow cards in mailboxes, to help vulnerable neighbors safely signal if they need supplies or other assistance.

There’s the high school student who created a Twitter account to report on the local impact of the Coronavirus and share helpful information, and the families who compiled a website designed to support local businesses by encouraging online shopping.

There are the local artists who are sharing photos and music online, to inspire and encourage us. The list goes on and on. For my part, I am grateful for and inspired by all those who have responded to these trying times with such generosity and innovation.

Westporters have expressed their emotions in many ways. A neighbor took this opportunity to thank our first responders. (Photo/Molly Alger)

Crisis can do 2 things: it can bog us down in our own anxiety or kick start our creativity. Surely, both are happening here.

We all have days when we are worn out from having to revise our habits again and again, in order to stay ahead of an invisible threat. But I hope we can also lean into those creative impulses, bearing in mind that isolation is hard because we are, fundamentally, interdependent. So we figure out how to reach and sustain one another.

The best story isn’t how this virus started or who may have contributed to its spread. It’s how we will get through it, and eventually stop the virus, because we can only do that together.

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 www.coronatestct.com.


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 remilevitt@gmail.com 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
info@upperdeckfitness.com 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 mark@mathias.org.


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:

 

 

 

Former Westporter’s Early Infection Spread Rapidly

With so many stories — and news sources — about COVID-19, “06880” is trying to limit coverage to stories with a direct connection to Westport. So why am I reprinting this Los Angeles Times story?

Because the subject of the story — a man in his 50s — is a former Westporter. The ominous headline is “How One Man’s Coronavirus Infection Created a Web of Potential Infection Around the World.” Here’s Noah Bierman’s report:

Contracting the new strain of coronavirus was stressful enough for one Washington, D.C., aerospace consultant. But tracking down and calling the people he came into contact with may have been just as bad.

“Are you sitting down? I got bad news,” he told people at least a dozen times.

The consultant was diagnosed Friday (March 13) with the illness, one among the early waves of known cases in the United States. And his efforts to call people around the country and around the world — including some within the highest reaches of government — illustrate how far a single individual can potentially spread the virus.

His calls caused factories to shut down, airlines and a ski van service to contact everyone on their manifests, a hotel to draft a letter sent to their guests, and congressional advisors and officials in the Israeli government to consider who they might need to call.

In a phone interview Sunday (March 15), he said he was suffering from painful coughing and shortness of breath. His wife has been feverish.

The consultant asked that his name not be used to protect the privacy of his clients. But he agreed to tell his story as a warning for others to listen to government admonitions and follow social distancing guidelines.

The story talks about his attendance at an American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington, then going to a pro hockey game followed by a 5-day ski vacation in Vail. Then he got on a plane, and started coughing….

This is not the former Westporter.

When he got the news, he had to tell people: Israeli officials, congressional offices, his hotel and van service in Vail …

The hotel sent a letter to their guests. The van service said it had expected a call like his and was prepared to make calls to the 10 people or so from around the country who rode through the mountains with the contagious consultant. The company that gave him the hockey tickets had to shut down their factory to test employees, as did other businesses he interacted with.

 

When he reached people, after an initial silence, they were understanding, much to his relief.

“Politics didn’t matter when I spoke with these people,” he said. “We get it. We’re going to try to do the right thing.”

The hospital told him to call ahead if he needed to return, so they could set up an isolation room with respiratory equipment.

“I think a lot of people have it and don’t know it, people who have been turned away,” he said. “The symptoms are flu-like, and you don’t have to be that sick.

“They only tested me because of the fact that I went to a big conference and I pushed the issue with them,” he added.

Like many Americans, he is already weary of the isolation.

“I feel like Jack Nicholson in ‘The Shining.’ I’m about to snap with this cabin fever.”

(Click here to read the story on the Los Angeles Times website.)

Pics Of The Day #1071

 

Post Road East, 11:30 a.m., looking west …

… and east (Photos/Dan Woog)

Not far away, the Post Road … 

… and, a few hours later, Main Street (Photos/Katherine Bruan)

NY Times Spotlights Westport: “Party Zero: How A Soiree In Connecticut Became A ‘Super Spreader'”

The New York Times has taken note — and told the world: Westport is ground zero for the coronavirus in Connecticut. 

In a long story posted late this afternoon — with the subhead “about 50 people gathered this month for a party in the upscale suburb of Westport, then scattered across the region and the world, taking the coronavirus with them” — Elizabeth Williamson and Kristen Hussey report on our town’s role in the pandemic.

Businesses have closed along Main Street in Westport, Conn., where a surge in coronavirus cases has been reported.

Businesses have closed along Main Street in Westport, Conn., where a surge in coronavirus cases has been reported. (Photo/Dave Sanders for The New York Times)

About 50 guests gathered on March 5 at a home in the stately suburb of Westport, Conn., to toast the hostess on her 40th birthday and greet old friends, including one visiting from South Africa. They shared reminiscences, a lavish buffet and, unknown to anyone, the coronavirus.

Then they scattered.

The Westport soirée — Party Zero in southwestern Connecticut and beyond — is a story of how, in the Gilded Age of money, social connectedness and air travel, a pandemic has spread at lightning speed. The partygoers — more than half of whom are now infected — left that evening for Johannesburg, New York City and other parts of Connecticut and the United States, all seeding infections on the way.

Westport, a town of 28,000 on the Long Island Sound, did not have a single known case of the coronavirus on the day of the party. It had 85 on Monday, up more than 40-fold in 11 days.

 

That’s the start. The story ends …

The first partygoer to be diagnosed passed word from Johannesburg to Westport that he had fully recovered and even planned to go for a jog.

“I don’t believe I’m the problem anymore,” he told The Sunday Times. “It seems that the real problem is now the people who are too scared to say anything. The problem is the ignorance of the public.”

(To read the story on the New York Times website, click here.)

Marpe’s Message: Westport Cases; Testing; Business Closings; More

1st Selectman Jim Marpe says:

  • The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) released its update on laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 22, 2020. The total of laboratory-confirmed cases in Fairfield County is 208, 20 of which are hospitalizations. Westport has a total of 62 laboratory-confirmed cases. The diagram on page 1 of the DPH report indicates that of the 327 cases in CT, the majority impacted are between the ages of 40-60. Those in the age range of 20-40 are just as likely to be infected as those in the 60-80 age range.  Click here for the report.

NOTE:  The State data is constantly changing. The town of Westport has endeavored to share the most current information available to us, but understand that the state is updating data daily regarding the number of COVID-19 cases, as well as changes to executive orders. We will try to share that information with the public as quickly as it officially becomes available to us.

  • The Westport Weston Health District reminds the public that it has arranged local COVID-19 testing in town with the Murphy Medical group for Weston and Westport residents only starting tomorrow. Pre-registration and pre-screening is required. Visit coronatestct.com to learn more. Testing is by appointment only.  Note: Murphy Medical will not require payment to register, but it will take insurance information. Insurers will be billed and will pay for the COVID-19 testing. The state of Connecticut pays for those on Husky and Medicaid.

  • The Governor’s Executive Order 7H will take effect as of 8:00 PM this evening, March 23. This order requires that businesses suspend in-person operations for all non-essential functions. To see the Governor’s announcement, please follow this link:

According to First Selectman Jim Marpe, “The reality is that a great many Westport businesses and services can remain open under the governor’s new orders. I encourage you to make use of them reasonably, bearing in mind the greater need to self-isolate.If you are considering going out to a business, check online or by phone to make sure it is still open. Also keep in mind that many businesses have voluntarily closed despite the Governor’s order not applying to them.”

Trader Joe’s enforces the social distance rules — in its own, very recognizable font. 

If you are visiting a supermarket, or convenience store, please maintain appropriate social distancing while you shop, and encourage the personnel in these establishments to follow CDC and WWHD recommended hygiene procedures. The WWHD will be increasing its efforts to enforce proper hygiene procedures in all food service establishments, but customer encouragement will also go a long way. If anyone notices a business not following the proper protocols, please contact the Westport Weston Health District at 203-221-7199.

  • Town Hall and town offices are closed to the public until further notice, overriding the previous notice that they will be closed until March 31.Essential staff will remain on-site utilizing alternating work schedules with some staff working remotely. We are making efforts to keep town services available to the public, but delays may occur. If you need to reach a staff member, please call, leave a voicemail or send an email. (Department and staff directories are available on the website https://www.westportct.gov/about/staff-directory). If it is determined that an in-person meeting is necessary, staff will work to schedule with the recognition that appropriate measures will be taken in order to maintain adequate distancing and transfer of documents.
  • As a reminder, it is imperative that everyone stay home.  In the name of public safety, if you must go out, you must practice social distancing at all times and not gather in groups. You are placing yourselves and others at risk when you engage in behavior that is against the directives of health officials. Our public safety officials need to be focused on many more vital issues than enforcing personal responsibility and trying to deter congregating during this crisis. Do not congregate in any town parks or outdoor facilities, including but not limited to school properties.

This past weekend, we still experienced several instances of relatively large gatherings in our parks and on some of our athletic fields. We encourage all to get outside and get some exercise, but please do not gather in groups. Other communities around us are closing all of their parks, beaches and playgrounds.  We are trying to avoid this, but can only do this if all our residents practice social distancing and do not gather in groups.

“Essential Businesses”: Defined

Tonight at 8, Governor Lamont’s emergency proclamation takes effect. It closes all but “essential” businesses in the Connecticut.

What does that mean? The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce relayed this important information.

For purposes of Executive Order 7H, “essential business,” means:

  1. Essential workers in the 16 Critical Infrastructure Sectors, as defined by the federal Department of Homeland Security unless otherwise addressed in a prior or future executive order pertaining to the existing declared public health and civil preparedness emergency.
  2. Healthcare and related operations including:

* biotechnology therapies

* consumer health products and services

* doctor and dentist offices

* elder care, including adult day care

* health care plans and health care data

* home health care workers or aides

* hospitals

* manufacturing, distributing, warehousing, and supplying of pharmaceuticals, including research and development

* medical marijuana dispensaries and producers

* medical supplies and equipment providers, including devices, diagnostics, services, and any other healthcare related supplies or services

* medical wholesale and distribution

* nursing homes, or residential health care facilities or congregate care facilities

* pharmacies

* physical therapy and chiropractic offices

* research and laboratory services, including testing and treatment of COVID-19

* veterinary and animal health services

* walk-in-care health facilities

The ever-smiling, always-helpful Russ Levine at Colonial pharmacy is of course essential.

  1. Infrastructure including:

* airports/airlines

* commercial trucking

* dam maintenance and support

* education-related functions at the primary, secondary, or higher education level to provide support for students, including distribution of meals or faculty conducting e-learning

* hotels and other places of accommodation

* water and wastewater operations, systems, and businesses

* telecommunications and data centers

* transportation infrastructure including bus, rail, for-hire vehicles and vehicle rentals, and garages

* utilities including power generation, fuel supply, and transmission

  1. All manufacturing and corresponding supply chains, including aerospace, agriculture, and related support businesses
  1. Retail including:

* appliances, electronics, computers, and telecom equipment

* big-box stores or wholesale clubs, provided they also sell groceries, consumer health products, or operate a pharmacy

* convenience stores

* gas stations

* grocery stores including all food and beverage retailers

* guns and ammunition

* hardware, paint, and building material stores, including home appliance sales/repair

* liquor/package stores and manufacturer permittees

* pharmacies

* pet and pet supply stores

Westport Hardware is another essential business.

  1. Food and agriculture, including:

* farms and farmer’s markets

* food manufacturing, processing, storage, and distribution facilities

* nurseries, garden centers, and agriculture supply stores

* restaurants/bars (provided compliance with all applicable executive orders is maintained)

  1. Services including:

* accounting and payroll services

* animal shelters or animal care or management, including boarding, grooming, pet walking and pet sitting

* auto supply, repair, towing, and service, including roadside assistance

* bicycle repair and service

* building cleaning and maintenance

* child care services

* critical operations support for financial institutions

* financial advisors

* financial institutions, including banks, credit unions, and check cashing services

* funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemeteries

* insurance companies

* laundromats/dry cleaning

* legal and accounting services

* mail and shipping services

* marinas and marine repair and service

* news and media

* real estate transactions and related services, including residential leasing and renting

* religious services (subject to Executive Order 7D limiting gatherings to 50 people)

* storage for Essential Businesses

* trash and recycling collection, hauling, and processing

* warehouse/distribution, shipping, and fulfillment

Trash collecting is absolutely essential.

  1. Providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations including:

* food banks

* homeless shelters and congregate care facilities

* human services providers whose function includes the direct care of patients in state-licensed or funded voluntary programs; the care, protection, custody and oversight of individuals both in the community and in state-licensed residential facilities; those operating community shelters and other critical human services agencies providing direct care or support social service agencies

  1. Construction including:

* all skilled trades such as electricians, HVAC, and plumbers

* general construction, both commercial and residential

* other related construction firms and professionals for essential infrastructure or for emergency repair and safety purposes

* planning, engineering, design, bridge inspection, and other construction support activities

  1. Services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of all residences and other buildings (including services necessary to secure and maintain non-essential workplaces):

* building cleaners or janitors

* building code enforcement

* disinfection

* doormen

* emergency management and response

* fire prevention and response

* general maintenance whether employed by the entity directly or a vendor

* home-related services, including real estate transactions, closings, appraisals, and moving services

* landscaping services

* law enforcement

* outdoor maintenance, including pool service

* pest control services

* security and maintenance, including steps reasonably necessary to secure and maintain non-essential businesses

* state marshals

Staples’ popular head custodian Horace Lewis leads a great — and essential — staff.

  1. Vendors that provide essential services or products, including logistics and technology support, child care, and services needed to ensure the continuing operation of government agencies and provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public including: 

* billboard leasing and maintenance

* child care services

* essential government services

* government owned or leased buildings

* information technology and information security

* logistics

* technology support

  1. Defense 

* defense and national security-related business and operations supporting the U.S. Government or a contractor to the US government

———————

If the function of your business is not listed above, but you believe that it is essential or it is an entity providing essential services or functions, you may request designation as an Essential Business.

Requests by businesses to be designated an essential function as described above, should ONLY be made if they are NOT covered by the guidance.

Restrictions on requesting designation as an Essential Business:

  • Any business that only has a single occupant/employee (e.g. attendant) is deemed exempt and need not submit a request to be designated as an Essential Business.

If you have further questions not answered above, please submit them to decd.covid19@ct.gov.

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 donationsppe@ynhh.org. 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 elizabeth.h.newman@gmail.com. Anyone with access to larger quantities shoud contact masks@nyp.org 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 Garelickandherbs@gmail.com or pgarelick@aol.com; 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.