A special message on COVID-19 to the Fishers Island Community from IHP & ICB #11

June 26, 2020

Thank you for embracing the Summer 2020 Fishers Island Summer Strategy and Protocols.  We are glad to report that enrollment is up, testing is being done as requested and results are rapidly being received in MyChart, symptom checking, and contact tracing is working and allowing us to monitor the right people, and we are minimizing infection on Fishers Island. However, the situation is changing fast.  A few developments we want you to be aware of include:

  • There has been one new COVID positive case on the Island, which was an individual who had the virus in March, along with his family, but one of them still tested positive. After a subsequent negative test, the individual (who left the Island) will now be able to return, and his family has also all tested negative.
  • We have another individual who tested “inconclusive” and had to retest, which came back negative. After notifying several contacts to isolate temporarily, they have now been notified of the new negative results and all is fine.  Warnings and cautious behavior protect us all,
  • Even more recently, we had an individual who was being isolated for COVID symptoms, but that person’s test results came back negative.
  • The governors of NY, CT, and NJ have jointly announced that anyone traveling to these states from “hot spot” states currently including Texas, Florida, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington must by law quarantine at home for 14 days, beginning Thursday, June 25, or risk fines for non-compliance. This will undoubtedly affect our community as we have many people traveling from these places.  We must take these public health warnings seriously, and each of us is individually responsible for following state law. See Governor Cuomo’s detailed guidance HERE.  In addition to following state law, we absolutely want every new arrival in this category to TEST for the virus on the way to the Island, ideally at a Yale-New Haven hospital drive-in testing site.  Once arriving on Fishers, this group should be very very vigilant with their social distancing, mask-wearing, and avoidance for 14 days of any gathering indoors with anyone outside their cohort.
  • Our region of New York (Long Island, Suffolk County) is in Phase III of re-opening (NYC is still in Phase II until July 6). Phase IV date for our region is still TBD.

We hope that the news of the positive and inconclusive cases, as well as the restrictions on arrivals from certain areas, will strike a note of fear and caution in all of our community, whether seasonal or year-round, whether old or young.  WE MUST REMAIN VIGILANT.

The IHP and the ICB believe that the protocols we have designed are very well suited to get us through the summer season if everyone follows and respects them.  Once again, 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.

Resources:

  • Summer 2020 COVID-19 Info and FAQ – this seven-page document spells out the protocol in detail and answers your questions. We have updated it since June 9 and this is version #2. Please read this before contacting us with further feedback and questions.
  • Revised Summer 2020 Strategy slides, including my speaking notes for reference, for those who prefer the information in a more visual form.
  • 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, if you or your friends and family have not done so is to fill out the FINY COVID-19 Resident Census or the FINY COVID-19 Commuting Worker Census
  • Contact IHP to confirm that your household and guests are registered and have MyChart, and book your COVID-19 test before coming to the Island. These steps apply to everyone (babysitters, employees, year-rounders, and seasonal residents).
  • Once your test is ordered in the system, you will get a scheduling call to arrange the test. If you need to call to confirm your test location and time, the direct number is 203-688-1700. New Haven, Greenwich, Bridgeport, New London, and Westerly are the five hospitals in the YNHH network that offer drive-in testing by appointment with a doctor’s authorization. They are generally open from about 7 am to 4 or 5 pm every day, although New London (L&M Hospital)’s last appointment is usually 2:45 pm.  For the Fourth of July weekend, we have been advised there are appointments available even on July 2,3, and 4. We are currently finding that the fastest turnaround times on test results are from Yale New Haven Hospital and that L&M in New London is the slowest.

Now that we are seeing more cases of the virus, our work has become very real, rather than theoretical.  Please remember, the next case could be you. Be respectful when visiting any Island establishment that requires you to wear a mask – not doing so is not an option, and you could be unwelcome there if you refuse to do so. Fill out our symptom checker email each time you get it. Please follow the rules, show restraint, do not attend social events just after arriving (especially indoors), and be careful that you don’t expose members of your family, your clubs, and your places of work to COVID-19.  Do not feel any stigma about reporting symptoms or getting tested- cooperation with our protocol helps the whole community.

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

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Check Also

Fishers Island’s Off-Season COVID-19 Census

Fill out the new IHP Off-Season Census and find the Off-Season IHP Office Hours here.