A special message on COVID-19 to the Fishers Island Community from IHP & ICB #10

June 9, 2020

Dear fellow Fishers Islanders,

Today the Island Health Project (IHP) and Island Community Board (ICB) are publishing a suite of materials related to our “Fishers Island 2020 Summer Strategy and Protocols” on www.fishersisland.net. This follows presentations on May 23 and June 2 of earlier drafts for public comment at ICB town hall meetings held by Zoom. We’ve spent these two weeks reviewing community questions and comments to finetune and post what you see here today.

Our protocol is known in short form as ENROLL-TEST-CHECK-PROTECT.  Although imperfect, the protocol represents our best efforts to provide guidance to the community and limit risk under the continued unpredictable threat of the coronavirus. As always, it is subject to future revision.

What’s New Today?

  • All-new and revamped Summer 2020 COVID-19 Info and FAQ – this seven-page document spells out the protocol in detail and answers your questions. Please read this before contacting us with further feedback and questions.

What’s Updated?

  • Revised Summer 2020 Strategy slides, including my speaking notes for reference. If you missed the presentation on May 23 or want to review plans visually, please start here.
  • Updated Infographics/Executive Summary on ENROLL-TEST-CHECK-PROTECT (this document is now posted around the Island, being handed out on ferry, and being shared on social media)

The Vital First Step – Enroll, if You’ve Not Yet Done So:

For this to work, adoption needs to be community-wide. Any gap in our defenses will allow the virus to spread in our community, with heartbreaking consequences.  Although the protocols, on initial reading, may seem onerous, most of us on the island have already been abiding by them for nearly three months. Those of you who aren’t here yet have been sheltering in place at home. At this point, the public health protocols should be near reflex and routine.

They also have unexpectedly opened a discourse between each of us that we might not have had before, bringing us closer together. Mask wearing in the appropriate settings, for instance, speaks to the wearer’s sense of community and respect for others. A face covering becomes a badge of honor, and when I see people wearing them, I am filled with appreciation.  Social distancing in these strange circumstances, especially when done with a sense of humor, exhibits that you care.

I have to say that so far, I am failing to see a major change in the quality of life here. I am still with my family. I still see my friends. I continue to work with my colleagues. I can still enjoy the outdoors. And the silver lining is a deepened sense of community.

Since we unveiled our plans to the community, our country has entered a painful period that is still continuing. Not only has COVID-19 disproportionately caused death, suffering, or unemployment among vulnerable people and certain populations, it has exposed racial fault lines and inequities. I know that many people here feel a sense of suffering on behalf of recent events and protests. The vigil held on the village green for Black Lives Matter, for instance, might not have happened in summers past except that we are living in a moment of heightened community sentiment. We are sensitized to our bonds with others who are suffering or disregarded. So I hope we can all use this opportunity to show empathy to others and to inspire us to “build back better”.

As always, do not hesitate to call or text me at 917-903-3516 if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and need medical advice.  If you have feedback on the plans, email comments to FICOVID@FIIHP.NET  (this goes to the database/contact tracing team). For help with registering with the office, MyChart or ordering a test, call the Island Health Project (IHP) at 631-788-7244 or email dianna.shillo@lmhosp.org.

Yours truly,

Dr. Christopher Ingram
Physician in Residence, Fishers Island

IHP COVID-19 Message #9

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