A special message on COVID-19 from ICB and IHP, #17

September 11, 2020

Dear fellow Fishers Islanders,

It has been less than 3 days since my previous update letter regarding recent positive COVID-19 cases emerging through Labor Day weekend. Yet, as an indicator of the rapid viral effect of COVID-19, I am sorry to say that the situation continues to evolve today.

There are four new positive cases from testing and re-testing performed, related to the previous five Labor Day Weekend cases. And, each of the four new cases is related to previous cases and, we believe that all are linked to the same potential viral source.

It is important for the community to know this, as we have not had any other recent positive cases that were not somehow linked to this same source. The recent group now brings the total number to nine positive cases from this recent “mini-outbreak.” Four of those nine individuals have since departed the island. The others are safely isolated at their homes on the island, with families also isolating. ISOLATION means that positive cases and their families are strictly isolated to their houses, and to rooms within houses, to limit intra-family spread. Nobody from that household should be out for 14 days.

Regarding those people that may have been exposed to the latest cases, Island Health Project personnel have worked swiftly and diligently to generate an accurate contact tracing list. Other people may have potentially been exposed at island gatherings on Friday, September 4th, and Sunday, September 6th.

The IHP contact tracing protocols have been highly effective at sourcing and notifying all potential contacts. All identified individuals have already been notified by my office. We have asked all those in attendance at the various gatherings to quarantine for 14 days as well as to be tested on day 7 or 8 of the 14, after their believed exposure, allowing enough time for the virus to potentially incubate. Testing earlier than 7-8 days out is much less reliable. Per NY State guidance, and in an abundance of caution, direct contacts must stay at home and strictly avoid any contact with others, and we have asked those they live with to stay home as well. Basically, you should treat yourself as if you have the virus and protect others from getting it. QUARANTINE means you cannot leave your property, cannot go inside the stores or post office, and should not interact with others. THIS IS HOW OUR COMMUNITY NOW NEEDS TO CONTAIN ANY FURTHER SPREAD.

Again, as to the issue of isolating and quarantining, a known positive case should be isolated from the community and those in the same household by being in separate living quarters if possible and having food delivered. And, close contacts of a positive case need to quarantine from the community, meaning they are not to leave their property, either for exercise or errands to the store, freight, post office, or the like.

This differs from the definition of quarantining we have used in association with awaiting a test result when there is no issue of suspected exposure. In this case, we feel that masks and strict social distancing are an adequate defense.

I believe it is clear to us all the consequences socially and potentially economically of people’s exposure to the virus. From these Labor Day weekend events, well over a hundred people are in quarantine which could expand exponentially should any contacts with the positive case themselves become positive.

Perhaps a rule of thumb should be used in deciding to attend a function. One should be willing for oneself and one’s entire household, as well as everyone at the function and their households, to go into quarantine should anyone at that event prove to carry the virus. This, of course, refers to a function where social distancing outside an individual’s cohort is not respected.

From August 27 until today we have had 9 new Covid-19 cases. 4 of these individuals have left the island and 5 have remained under strict isolation. Their family members, too, are in isolation and everyone is doing well.

May we all proceed with the utmost of caution. I think it is fair to say we have been lucky so far.

Yours In Health,

Dr. Christopher Ingram
Physician in Residence, Fishers Island

SUMMARY:
People in quarantine: >115 (as of 9/11/20) (rough approximate)
Number of positive cases: 9 (as of 9/11/2020) 5 remain isolated on Island

Our guidance is this:

  • Read these step-by-step, do-it-yourself (DIY) instructions for getting enrolled with IHP and MyChart, tested, and “with the program!”
  • Please test off-Island with YNHH on your way here, if you can – we will help you arrange.
  • Re-test if you think you are at risk or if your result is out of date – but do it soon!
  • Continue social distancing and good hygiene, stay within your known cohorts, as you have been.
  • Seasonal residents should try to get flu shots off-Island, although we will gear up for more requests than usual (in a normal year, we do about 100).
  • Prepare to cooperate with a request for a post-Labor Day 2020 Fishers Island Census request (HIPPA compliant) so we know who is on the Island, for contact tracing purposes.
  • Resources: To find all the FI information, please visit this link: COVID-19

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.
– Contact tracing team: FICOVID@FIIHP.NET
– Island Health Project (IHP): IHP office, MyChart, or ordering a test follow the DIY instructions first, then call the 631-788-7244 or email dianna.shillo@lmhosp.org.

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