New Urgent Protocol for Fishers Island

March 24, 2020

To the Fishers Island Community:

For the health and well-being of the community, the Island Community Board (ICB), in partnership with Island Health Project (IHP), strongly requests that if one does not need to come to Fishers Island for a specific reason now, we implore you to delay your trip for at least one month or until we have a better understanding of the long-term effects of COVID-19 relative to Fishers Island. The following island organizations also support this request: Fishers Island Development Corporation, Fishers Island Ferry District, Fishers Island Utility Company, and the Village Market.

Difficult as it is to advise our community members not to come to Fishers, this urgent request is made so as not to risk overwhelming the Island’s extremely limited resources unnecessarily, including the health of our medical staff, emergency responders, and critical infrastructure personnel. 

Effective March 24 the Ferry will be running on a reduced schedule and the NYS Governor has issued an executive order for all non-essential services (please refer to the link for clarity). 

From IHP and Dr. Ingram:

At this time there have been no documented cases of the coronavirus on Fishers Island. Yet the rate of new infections elsewhere suggests that will change shortly and to a potentially dramatic and devastating extent.  Using widely published data, the infection rate is expected to be anywhere from 40-80% and death rate .5-2%. Should the island population increase from the year-round number of some 250 individuals to 1000, 400-800 of them will contract the disease and 5-20 will die. If 2000 people decide to sojourn here, 800-1600 will eventually get sick and 10-40 die. Of course the elderly and those with chronic disease will be most at risk.

The statistics above are stark. But they are confirmed by statistics being compiled at the Covid Tracking Project and Johns Hopkins.

At this time our only resource in the fight against Covid-19 is prevention, therefore we are recommending the following:

  • For those arriving, 2 weeks of home quarantine is recommended to “clear” individuals of possible infection. Thereafter, strict social distancing etiquette of 6’ is essential for everyone. (Rationale: the incubation period for COVID-19 is thought to be 2-14 days).
  • Should an individual in a family group develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection all primary contacts of that individual will need to self-quarantine for 14 days. Typical symptoms are: dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath.
  • Individuals who detect mild to moderate symptoms should not come into the IHP doctor’s office but should call for instructions. Monitoring will be established by phone or video consultations.
  • Individuals who detect severe symptoms including difficulty breathing or significant shortness of breath will require evaluation in a hospital setting.  The IHP clinic will help in making that determination.
  • If these individuals are able, they will self-transport in their private vehicles to the hospital wearing a mask en route.  The ferry and the hospital will be alerted of their arrival.
  • Current protocol at L&M Hospital dictates that the individual under investigation must enter the hospital unaccompanied. There is a no visitor policy at this time unless that individual is a minor.
  • Should the affected individuals be determined, in consultation with the IHP Clinic, to need medical attention in transit due to the severity of their symptoms, they will travel by ambulance and sea stretcher unaccompanied by family unless a minor.

At this time, and for the foreseeable future, there is no testing available on the island.

  • To call the IHP office for screening and/or to make an appointment for a non-CORVID-19 issue, call 631-788-7244.
  • For Yale COVID-19 Hotline for patient-specific questions Monday–Friday, 7 am–7 pm, call (833) 275-9644.
  • IN CASE OF EMERGENCY call Southold Dispatch
    From a Fishers House Phone: 911
    From a Cell Phone: 631-765-2600

From ICB:

Various institutions on the island have established protocols to access their services during the pandemic: Please visit this link often for the most up to date information: Fishers Island: Navigating COVID-19 Please pay special attention to the Ferry and the Market updates.

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