ICB Minutes April 14, 2020

P.O. Box 464, Fishers Island, NY 06390
Tel: 631-788-7990
Email: ficommunityboard@gmail.com

ICB April 2020 Meeting
Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Zoom Meeting

Total Participants: 112

NOTE: The Island Community Board has been hosting weekly Zoom video conference calls with the Fishers Island community each Tuesday night since March 30, focused on health issues and recommended protocols concerning the COVID-19 crisis. In preparation for and during the meetings, the ICB has worked with the Island Health Project (IHP) and many local organizations to help propel regular, updated island communications. On Friday of each week, a letter to the community from Dr. Ingram, along with advice and FAQ’s are posted to www.fishersisland.net and emailed to subscribers. Likewise, island organizations have been encouraged to post their own updates on the website, consistent with IHP/ICB protocols. The ICB will continue to work closely with IHP and all participating entities throughout the ongoing crisis to disseminate evolving Federal, State, and Local guidelines.

The ICB continues to meet monthly in a public forum with the community to review and discuss other Island priorities. Minutes are provided on these monthly ICB meetings, as usual.

ICB Representatives: Willard Soper (President), Candace Whitman (Vice President), Dicky Riegel (Treasurer – Seasonal), Meg Atkin (Year-Round), George DeMenil (Seasonal), Paul Giles (Fire District), John McGillian (FIDCO), Louisa Evans, Elizabeth McCance (Museum)

Staff: Zack Hoch (Secretary), Mere Doyen (Island Liaison)

Public: Dr. Chris Ingram, Bob Evans, Amy Harris, Beth Cashel, Paul Giles, Elizabeth Reid, Audrey Ludeman, Peter Lawrence, Lilian Starbuck, Kandi Sanger, John McCall, Cindy Scott, Paul Ford, Elizabeth Buckner, Charlie Carrol, Leslie McElwreath, Talbot Von State, Bob Warden, Faith Coolidge, Jo Sochi, Ann Cutler, George Conant, Amelia Gary, Kip O’ Brien, Christine Flanagan, Ann Anthony, David Wilmerding, Chippy DuPont, Missy Crisp, Cleo Allan, Susie Parsons, Diane Baker, Duncan Harvey, George Ireland, Ginny Wilmerding, Fran Needham Roethgen, Jane Crary, Bruce Kinlin, Jenifer Russell, Jessica Doyle, Dave Cugini, Jane Ahrens, and 61 others.

Absent: Nate Malinowski (Year-Round), Marc Rubenstein (IHP), Geb Cook (Ferry District), Chris Finan (Utility Company), Jeanie Cook (Community Center), Greg Thibodeau (Fire District), Tom Sargent (Conservancy), Christian Arsenault (School), Matt Edwards (Walsh Park)

Approve March Minutes

Willard Soper motioned to approve the March minutes written by Zack Hoch. The motion was moved and passed.

Treasurer’s Report

ICB Treasurer Dicky Riegel reported ICB’s finances are in decent shape for this time of year. There is about $1,400 in the checking account and $600 in the PayPal account. ICB relies on donations from individuals and organizations and donations can be made online at https://fishersisland.net/icb-members/icb-annual-appeal/ or checks can be mailed in to PO Box 371. ICB has paid to increase the capacity to 500 callers on Zoom. Requested donation from individuals is $25 but certainly will accept more. Willard Soper thanked FIDCO for their annual contribution.

COVID-19 Update
Dr. Chris Ingram reported no new reported cases on Fishers Island. The two people with confirmed cases are off island and the two people they were in contact with are finishing their quarantine period. There is guarded optimism. Although confirmed cases continue to rise, the rate of rise has dropped. Yale hospital has 380 Coronavirus cases; 110 are in ICU, 70 on ventilators, and 35 patients are in question. Bridgeport Hospital has 180 patients, 58 in ICU, 40 on ventilators and 13 under observation. Greenwich has 110 patients, with 16 on vents. L&M Hospital has 11 patients with 1 on ventilation. Westerly has 5 Coronavirus patients. These number show our region is not being as hard hit, or we just have not yet reached the peak, which could be in the near future.

Planners are thinking about the time period after the peak of the spread of the virus which could be in the next few weeks or a month or two. One thought is the implementation of widespread testing. There are two types of tests that are becoming available. One test is for the antibody IgM and the other test for antibody IgG. IgM is an acute phase antibody which develops early in the contraction of an illness. An IgG test can indicate prior contact with a pathogen. These are blood tests.

Chris was approached by someone at the Medicine Shop with access to tests that could be performed on island in residential homes and provide results within 15 minutes. Each test cost about $75 at retail price. Another option is a saliva test which costs $150 per test with results in 24 hours. Various companies are coming up with tests so we can except more in the near future. A viral genome test tests for the presence of the virus itself if someone were acutely ill. An antibody test could tell if a person is acutely ill or if they have previously been exposed or not exposed at all. The golden people are people who have tested positive but are no longer sick or were asymptotic. Those people will have developed immunity to the virus, meaning they will not get it twice. Those people can move amongst the ill and the healthy with no risk to the community. Chris intends to present a plan to the community utilizing testing if it is what the community wants.

Dr. Ingram stated their medical team is extremely reduced and almost anything would deplete their resources and overwhelm them. Utmost caution must be used because there are many vulnerable people on the island who would not survive the infection. Forewarning is critical. Someone not feeling well should alert Dr. Ingram early in the morning. With the reduced ferry schedule, they would be forced to use the Sea Stretcher after 4:45PM. Chris explained he has his cell phone back and people can call or text him on his personal phone (917) 903-3516 or call the Doctor’s Office.

Seasonal Island Organizations Update
Dicky Riegel recognized and thanked everyone working behind the scenes in preparation for these conversations and for communications made clear by IHP from Dr. Chris Ingram, Susie Parsons, Diane Baker, Maisie Fritze and Ginny Wilmerding and posted online by Jane Ahrens. ICB reps Willard Soper, Candy Whitman, Dicky Riegel, Nate Malinowski , Meg Atkin and George DeMenil have been meeting twice a week to go over new protocols. This week ICB spoke with representatives of seasonal organizations. Participating in the call from the Big Club was Peter Lawrence, Dave Cugini and Paul Giles. From Hay Harbour Club was Lawrence McCloud and Andrew Gerbutavich. From the Yacht Club, John Glendon and Beth Arsenault. From FIDCO, Mimi Gary. And from the Pequot, Bob Warden and David Pollock.

In the case of private clubs, each is responsible to communicate directly with their membership about plans for the upcoming season. Each organization is on their own timetable. The Pequot is not a private organization but serves many on the island. ICB is asking these organizations how they are planning for the season ahead, how they will handle their staff, how quarantine periods ll be staggered for people arriving to the island, and how they are planning opening their facilities even if it is in a reduced or limited form. Each organization is developing a statement that will be posted on fishers island.net once completed. ICB plans to additionally speak with IPP and the Museum about their summer plans.

Bike Path Extension Update
John McGillian stated Richard Spencer was the first Secretary of the Navy that was advocating for the bike path extension but he has since been let go along with two other Navy Secretaries that proceeded him, causing uncertainty about the project. John received a call last week from the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, James Balarkee, who recently sent an email and voice message to the Town Attorney in Southold stating that they approve everything being proposed. Now Southold needs to review it, sign it, and send it back to the Navy for signing. John then contacted Scott Russell, who confirmed he was contacted by the Navy and will review it. Scott explained his focus is currently on the Coronavirus which keeps the timetable unknown.

John reported the Rec Path Foundation has about $400,000 in the bank and estimates the cost of the extension to be between $600,000-$700,000. John hopes they can raise $1 million. The ideal timeline would have everything signed by this summer, then a bidding process would begin. John guesses next year the project will begin.

Sidewalks Update
Willard Soper confirmed progress on the sidewalks and bonding is complete. It was expected that in April the bidding process would begin, but because of the virus this process likely will be delayed until the Fall at the earliest. Louisa Evans stated currently the Town Engineer is not working, as the department was deemed non-essential. This process cannot move forward until the the Town Engineer is back to work.

Q. If you had the disease are you now immune?
A. Dr. Ingram answered although there is no perfect evidence, experience leads to believe that yes you are immune and have formed an antibody reaction which removes the threat and keeps it from returning.

Q. Do the medical group and EMT’s have enough masks and personal protective equipment? A. Dr. Ingram answered that it depends what they are faced with as the summer rolls in. If exposure rate stays low, they should be prepared. If worst-case scenario happens, they will be overwhelmed and run out of equipment so we must maintain our guard. Paul Giles noted that face shields are hard to obtain right now and cost $9.00 each. They did put in an order for 75 and are prepared for the short term.

Q. How long does immunity last?

A. Dr. Ingram answered that since this is a new virus, there is little experience with it. With experience from exposure to prior viruses and vaccinations, immunity last different amounts of time but it’s expected immunity would be relatively long-lasting, unless there was a viral mutation, which essentially would be a new virus.

Can tests be stockpiled? Dr. Ingram recommends the community come to a consensus on this. One approach would be to figure out how to finance testing for everyone and consider making it a requirement for anyone coming to the island. Costs are roughly $80 per test. Can individuals pay? Could a fund be created for those who cannot afford to pay? Will Southold pay for testing? Payment strategies need to be determined.

Can day workers, seasonal residents or renters travel to the island and then leave the same day or weekend? Willard answered there is no way to stop them but they must complete the census form each trip. The Ferry District is taking safety measures and asks passengers to wear facial protection. Day workers should work independently. Protocol seems like it is being followed. If island residents have not completed the form, it can be completed online at https://fishersisland.net/who-is-here-help-ihp-help-the-island-covid-19-census/ and then sent to the doctor’s office. Mere stated the response has been low and wonders why people are not filling it out. Of an estimated 800 people currently on island, about 500 have completed the form.

A concern as the summer approaches is that there will be more people on island with an unknown status. Could more data be collected about the people coming and their situation? Willard stated we need to get a better handle for the people on the island and make sure everyone is completing the census form. This also will help assure the Village Market is prepared. Candy suggests people remind each other to compete the form if they have not yet done so.

Adjourned 6:00PM

There will be another weekly update on Zoom next Tuesday at 5PM. The next ICB monthly meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 12 at 5:00pm.

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