UPDATE #2 – June 26, 2020
These are community recommendations, not regulations. We strongly urge everyone to opt-in, for the health of all Fishers Islanders. Any perceived inconveniences are not as difficult and onerous as they seem and will keep everyone safe. The IHP-ICB COVID task force will update this document as often as necessary.
Send comments to FICOVID@FIIHP.NET (this goes to the database/contact tracing team)
For help with registering, MyChart or ordering a test, call the Island Health Project (IHP) at 631-788-7244
or email email@example.com
- The Protocol in Brief: “ENROLL-TEST-CHECK-PROTECT”
- YOUR JOURNEY TO FISHERS; HOW TO GET TESTED
- SOCIAL DISTANCING AND BEST PRACTICE HYGIENE
- DOCTOR’S OFFICE PROTOCOLS
- POSITIVE CASES, ISOLATION AND CONTACT TRACING
- EVERYTHING ELSE
- USEFUL LINKS
- ENROLL before arrival: fill out the FINY COVID-19 Resident Census or the FINY COVID-19 Commuting Worker Census and call the IHP at 631-788-7244 to sign up for Yale New Haven Health (YNHH) MyChart, a medical record and patient portal. This is essential for healthcare delivery over the summer.
- TEST: Arrange COVID virus testing for everyone in your group by calling IHP well in advance of your arrival. Preferred testing is on the day of your arrival to the Island at a YNHH affiliated testing site or on Island when that testing is available.
Practice strict social distancing until negative results come back.
Options: (1) Drive-through testing at Lawrence & Memorial or other Yale affiliated hospital (Greenwich CT, Bridgeport CT, New Haven CT or Westerly, RI) before arriving, (2) Day trip back to L&M in New London shortly after arriving on island, (3) test on Island if none of these options are available to you (call IHP to arrange), or (4) if you choose not to test, quarantine for 14 days.
- CHECK: If symptoms arise, Dr. Ingram needs to know as soon as possible. Check your email for an automatic symptom tracking form 3x weekly. This program will begin on or around June 15, 2020. The tracker takes less than 10 seconds to fill out and submit.
- PROTECT: Follow NY State recommendations to wear masks in public, social distance, isolate if you’re symptomatic, and cooperate with IHP contact tracing if positive tests do arise. If you are arriving from Texas, Florida, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Washington, NY state law also requires you quarantine at home for 14 days.
FAQs: Enrollment and the Fishers Island COVID-19 Census
- Is the IHP Census related to the US Census that is also being done?
No, the IHP Census is separate from the US Census. Your FINY COVID-19 census information is HIPAA protected. It will allow us to keep the island community safe by facilitating contact tracing.
- How often should I fill out the Census?
At least once, for every single individual who is on or comes to the Island! We will keep you in the database for the whole summer. If you would like to update your record for any reason, please feel free to fill in the Census again, and we will take care to edit out older entries. We encourage you to fill the Census out in advance. A family member may fill out the Census for another family member, a guest, or a caregiver – but please give that individual’s email and mobile phone number with that record.
FAQs: Year-round residents and commuters
- Do we need to enroll in the Census, register with IHP/MyChart, and do the symptom tracker?
Yes. Year-rounders and commuting workers should fill out either the FINY COVID-19 Resident Census or the FINY COVID-19 Commuting Worker Census as appropriate, at least once, and they should make sure they have a record with IHP and have a MyChart account. Large island employers will be assisting us in enrolling their workforces. Symptom check emails will be sent to everyone for whom we have an email address.
FAQs: Symptom tracking and contact tracing
- How do I get the symptom tracker?
By enrolling in the Census and giving an email for each person in your household (parents can input their emails for children), you will be enrolling in the symptom tracker program. Since June 15, emails have been sent out three times per week, and we are seeing hundreds of responses to each, with many reports of how easy and fast it is to respond.
- When/how to reply to the symptom tracker?
Each individual (or a parent on behalf of each child) should reply and complete the symptom tracker 3x a week. This applies to weekly commuters as well, throughout their time both on and off Island. Filling it out takes just a few seconds- make it part of your regular routine.
- What happens if someone on the Island is symptomatic for COVID-19?
If someone is symptomatic for COVID-19 and reports it, IHP will contact them or she/he should contact IHP (see Doctor’s Office Protocols below). The individual will be provided care and those in close contact will be isolated, monitored, and tested. When a positive case is suspected, the IHP will commence contact tracing, using the information we have in the Census. See page 6 below for more information on contact tracing.
Fishers Island residents should be healthy when they arrive and willing to take precautions. Anyone who is feeling sick and is not already here should avoid the Island, as we cannot offer comprehensive care. We need to reserve the Island’s extremely limited medical resources for emergency situations; we need to protect the health of our medical staff, emergency responders, and critical infrastructure personnel.
Individuals infected with COVID-19 can pass the disease on to others without displaying any symptoms themselves. Out of an abundance of caution, please assume that you have been exposed during some part of your journey to Fishers Island. You must consider the possibility that interacting with others might put them in danger until you receive negative test results or undergo 14 days of strict quarantine. After that, you can begin to socialize more freely. See our Social Distancing recommendations below, and follow current NY state regulations (subject to change).
UPDATE: 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, we urge these people this group should to be very very vigilant with their social distancing, mask-wearing, and avoidance for 14 days of any gathering not to gather indoors with anyone outside their cohorts.
- I will drive directly in my own car, from my main residence
We ask that you socially distance as best you can for one week prior to travel. Through IHP, order a test for your group for the afternoon before, or day of departure, and before getting on the ferry. We’d prefer you get tested at one of the Yale affiliated hospitals in Connecticut or Rhode Island on your way to the ferry. While waiting for test results (1-3 days), observe strict social distancing, and interact indoors with your own cohort only.
- Part of my journey includes shared transportation (taxi, public air travel, train, etc.)
This is a “higher-exposure” type journey. We ask that everyone in this situation get tested before they arrive on island if practical and/or also test again 2-3 days after being on island. You may either (1) go back to Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London for a day trip for testing (this is generally free/covered by insurance), or (2) get a saliva virus test through the IHP office (but please note this is pre-pay, $120, and may not be reimbursable by insurance). Waiting to test 2-3 days after arrival, then waiting for results, means a total of about six days before expanding your cohort, versus three days for those who have a “low-exposure” journey. USE YOUR BEST JUDGMENT. While waiting for test results, observe strict social distancing, and interact indoors with your own cohort only.
- I will take a private boat
We recommend getting tested at one of the Yale affiliated hospitals in either Connecticut or Rhode Island on the day of travel to Fishers Island. If this is not possible, test 2-3 days after arrival. You may either (1) go back to Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London for a day trip for testing (this is generally free/covered by insurance), or (2) get a saliva virus test through the IHP office (but please note this is pre-pay, $120, and may not be reimbursable by insurance). While waiting for test results, observe strict social distancing, and interact indoors with your own cohort only.
- I will fly directly by private plane
We recommend getting tested at one of the Yale affiliated hospitals in either Connecticut or Rhode Island on the day of travel to Fishers Island. If this is not possible, test 2-3 days after arrival. If traveling with a pilot outside of your cohort, you must wear a mask for the duration of the trip. If you were not able to test before arrival you may either (1) go back to Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London for a day trip for testing (this is generally free/covered by insurance), or (2) get a saliva virus test through the IHP office (but please note this is pre-pay, $120, and may not be reimbursable by insurance). While waiting for test results, observe strict social distancing, and interact indoors with your own cohort only.
- I’m coming for a day trip or weekend only
It may not be practical for day-trippers and weekenders to get tested the day of arrival, although doing so might help family members and housemates already here know that you tested negative and didn’t expose anyone. Day-trippers and weekenders must stick to their own cohort and not expand cohorts, so as not to expose others.
- I’m a commuting worker – should I get tested?
Day workers go back and forth every day so they should strictly social distance, at all times, wear masks, wash hands, avoid contact with others. No testing protocol is going to work perfectly with this group.
For anyone arriving to Fishers Island who prefers not to get tested, an alternative is to remain only with your own cohort while here and/or to undergo a 14 day quarantine.
- What test types are recommended?
We recommend the COVID-19 nasal swab test which must be prescribed by a doctor. The nasal swab determines whether the coronavirus is currently in your upper respiratory tract indicating if you have the virus and/or are at risk of spreading it to others. These tests are 98% effective. The antibody test, a blood test, determines whether you had the virus in the past and whether your body has created antibodies against the virus. Antibody tests are not very reliable and it’s not clear how to interpret/use the test results.
- Which hospital is fastest and what are the hours of testing?
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. Once your test is booked in the system, the number to call to confirm your test location and time is 203-688-1700. Lately, the fastest test result turnaround times have been from New Haven and Greenwich.
- Is there an option for on-island testing?
We do have testing on Island in limited quantities, we have a saliva test that can be self-administered and shipped off island for lab results. The saliva test has a 2-3 day turnaround after the lab receives it by post, and which costs roughly $120 but is not covered by insurance. We also have a self-administered nasal swab. The swab test passes through a 3rd party handler who will attempt to collect from the insurance company. It otherwise attempts to collect from the government. It has yet to attempt to collect from an individual.
- Does insurance pay for testing?
Generally, insurance does pay for the testing done at mainland hospitals when ordered by a doctor, and we are billing insurance for the nasal swab tests we have on Island (see above), but the saliva test cannot be submitted directly to insurance. Check with your own health insurance company to be sure. If you need help paying for a test, contact IHP and we will try to help you privately.
- How to leave FI for COVID Testing?
If you need to leave the Island for testing or medical treatment, you should ideally leave via ferry, in your own car.
- Should children get tested?
Yes, we do want everyone, even the youngest children over age 2, to get tested if possible.
- How risky is going off Island to get tested?
The test can be conducted from your own vehicle in a very low risk setting. At L&M in New London, you drive to a COVID-19 Specimen Collection Station where a nurse will administer a swab into your nasal cavity. Although there are added risks to leaving the island, the test itself is low risk.
- How do I get the test results?
If you have tested at a YNHH site and are all set up for MyChart, it couldn’t be easier. Your test results will come back to your MyChart app and you will get an email alert, in as little as 12 hours, or it could be as long as 3-5 days (length of wait very unpredictable, however New Haven and Greenwich seem particularly fast). IHP can also access your test results. If you take the saliva test on Island, the company will email you the test results, usually within 3 days. If you take the nasal swab test on Island, the results come back to Dr. Ingram, and he will notify you privately.
- “Social distancing” means staying 6’ apart from others outside your cohort and not holding indoor social gatherings, dinner parties, playdates/sleepovers for your children, or in-person meetings outside your cohort.
- You don’t have to stay in your house.
- You can run errands at the stores, post office, and ferry, with a mask.
- You can exercise outdoors – in close contact with your own cohort; 6’ apart with everyone else.
- A “cohort” is the group you live with and/or with which you have decided to allow close contact – family, house guests, maybe a small group of best friends (but note that their cohort also becomes your cohort). The best way to think about cohorts is that they are the ones you interact with INDOORS. It can be risky to interact with people whose past whereabouts and exposure is unknown, so smaller cohorts are better than larger cohorts.
- While you are waiting for test results, please be especially vigilant about social distancing. Think of yourself in “quarantine” even though the rules are still the same as for social distancing.
- Once you have tested negative, you may slowly expand your cohort to include others who have tested negative or passed quarantine, but this is not without risk. Outside your cohort, or even in a large cohort, OUTDOOR socializing 6′ apart is fine. Get out to see people in the nice weather, fresh air, and bring your own food and drink. Please be cautious and warn others to be cautious.
- Best practice hygiene:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
- Carry hand sanitizer with you
- WEAR A MASK to protect others from yourself at all public locations and stores on the Island. It’s the law in NY and CT to wear masks in public if you cannot maintain 6’ apart.
- Act as if you might infect others, even if you actually feel fine.
- Masks are also MANDATORY for passengers and operators when traveling on public transportation or hired/group vehicles (this includes the FI Ferry!).
- The Beach Plum does sell cloth masks. Some Islanders are selling them on FICC Market Days.
- N95 masks should be reserved for healthcare workers.
- Keep your distance from older people and anyone who may have a pre-existing health condition.
- Visiting stores and businesses: We would ask that you comply closely with all requested protocols as business returns more to normal on Fishers Island. People may choose to put themselves at risk but they don’t have the right to jeopardize the health of others. Business owners need the authority to protect themselves and their customers; they will do their part to sanitize their stores, before and after receiving shoppers and visitors. Note:
- NY Governor Cuomo has issued an executive order that permits stores to DENY ENTRY to people who refuse to wear masks. Wearing a mask in public places indoors is required by law.
- If you are picking up groceries, hardware supplies, or shopping in stores:
- Wear a mask
- Wear gloves if requested
- Respect rules for total number of people in a store at one time
- Follow any instructions for contactless payment and pickup
FAQs: Social Distancing
- What if I cannot social distance before I arrive?
It would be advisable to get a test 2-3 days after arriving on the Island (plus one on the way here as well, if convenient). Alternately, we recommend quarantining for 14 days after arrival.
- How will social distancing be implemented on the Ferry? Who is managing what the ferry is doing?
If you have a vehicle you are required to remain inside your vehicle for the entire ferry ride. If you do not have a vehicle you must have a mask on at all times and remain 6 feet from all other passengers. These rules will be implemented by the ferry staff with direction from the ICB and IHP.
- What if errands off Island are unavoidable?
If you do need to go off Island, please limit it to essential services, and please act responsibly upon return. Do remember that it is mandatory to wear a mask on the FI Ferry, on public or hired transportation, and in public within 6’ of others throughout the States of CT and NY. You need to remember that even if you have been exceedingly careful while off Island, you pose a risk to others. Consider testing on Island 2-3 days after your day trip, if on-Island testing becomes available.
- Emergency/non-emergency: If you have a true medical emergency call 911. Otherwise, call the office first at 631 -788-7244 to schedule an appointment. NO WALK-IN appointments.
- When entering the office: All patients/caregivers must wear a face mask, unless under age two or medically unable. Patients must be unaccompanied unless they are under age 18 or needing medical assistance (limit of one parent/legal guardian/caregiver). Photo ID, Insurance Card, and Copay required at the visit. All patients must wait on the front porch, staff will notify you when you can see the doctor.
- Our network/system: We are part of the Yale-New Haven Health system, and the nearest hospital is Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London, CT. Their hotline for patient-specific questions is open Monday–Friday, 7 am–7 pm, call (833) 275-9644.
- Summer 2020 “Enroll” protocol:
- All residents, visitors, seasonal and year-round employees on Fishers Island must have an active account with Yale New Haven health system and be enrolled in MyChart
- Although MyChart has the capability of scheduling appointments from the App, we ask that you DO NOT schedule appointments this way, as we do not function as a typical primary care setting which may cause a delay in treatment.
- If you are unsure if you are a current patient and/or in the Yale New Haven Health System, we highly encourage you to call our office to confirm and leave a voice message with name and contact information. We will also be able to identify whether you are enrolled in MyChart and can initiate enrollment if needed.
- When to use your PCP from home: When possible, and in the case of Non-COVID-19 medical needs, we urge that you consult your primary care physician at home for medical visits and advice, including remotely through telemedicine, so as not to burden the IHP office, especially in the summer season.
- IN CASE OF MILD TO MODERATE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19while on Island, please do not visit the IHP office in person but call 631-788-7244, 917-903-3516, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions. Monitoring will be established by phone or video consultations.
- IN CASE OF SEVERE SYMPTOMS of COVID-19 while on Island including difficulty breathing or significant shortness of breath, you will require evaluation in a hospital setting. Please call IHP immediately at 631-788-7244 or 917-903-3516 for assistance in making that determination. If you do leave the Island on our advice, this is the suggested protocol:
- IHP can assist in alerting the ferry and the hospital of your arrival.
- If able, you will be directed to self-transport in your own vehicle with sealed windows and wear a mask. In these cases, Dr. Ingram will arrange for a face mask during transit, if you do not have one.
- DO NOT GET OUT OF YOUR CAR IN THE FERRY LINE OR WHILE ON THE FERRY, AS IT PUTS OTHERS AT RISK.
- After you arrive at L&M Hospital, the current protocol 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.
- IN CASE OF AN OFF-HOURS EMERGENCYcall Southold Dispatch from a Fishers House Phone: 911. From a Cell Phone: 631-765-2600. If and only if the affected individuals are determined, in consultation with the IHP Clinic, to need help in transit due to the severity of their symptoms, they will travel by ambulance and Sea Stretcher, and they will be unaccompanied by family unless a minor. Please consider whether you really need on-Island support for a COVID-19 emergency, as our volunteer emergency response unit may not have adequate protection such as Hazmat suits.
FAQs: Medical Care
- Is there backup care on Fishers Island if I get COVID-19?
Emergency provisions for on Island treatment have been considered in the very unlikely event that L&M Hospital becomes overwhelmed with patients. At the present time L&M assures us that they can handle any needs that may arise from Fishers Island.
- How are we protecting the very limited number of EMT resources and the FI Fire Department personnel?
We are strongly urging people not to come to Fishers Island if they are sick or symptomatic. We are also urging people who may need to leave the Island for testing or medical treatment to do so in their own car and by ferry (see our Advice document for protocols). We want to reserve Sea Stretcher trips only for true emergencies. We do have N95 masks and Tyvek suits to protect them when transporting COVID-19 patients.
- CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASE COUNT as of 6/26/2020: 3 cases (now recovered), 0 deaths, 1 new case for isolation/monitoring (now resolved). Under HIPAA, we cannot disclose the identities of affected individuals. If we know any Island residents are at risk of exposure, we will contact those individuals.
- Isolation: Anyone with a family member or close contact who has developed symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should isolate for 14 days in a separate room with a separate bathroom if possible. No one in this situation should leave their house under any circumstances. Wear a mask covering your nose and mouth when you have to be in common areas of the house. Avoid close contact for social or dining activities. Food should be delivered to your individual quarters. Take your temperature with a thermometer twice a day: in the morning and later in the day and record your temperature on a sheet of paper or electronically.
- Close contacts: If you are a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19, you need to isolate yourself for fourteen (14) days from the last date of contact, or until you test negative for the virus.
- Isolation Guidelines- Suffolk County: For the latest state recommended protocols, see:
- Recovering from COVID: The COVID-19 virus can be shed by a positive patient for up to 21 days after the onset of symptoms, so we recommend completing 21 days of isolation from the onset of symptoms (by way of example, if you felt sick on June 1, got treated in hospital on June 5, then discharged June 8, you should return home to isolation conditions and remain there until June 22).
- Purpose: The purpose of contact tracing is to warn asymptomatic individuals that they may have been exposed to a positive case of COVID-19. This will require the active cooperation and permission of patients to identify those with whom they’ve been in close contact (within 6 ft.), and we will also utilize the information collected in the Census.
- What if I’m contacted? Essentially, the instructions for such contacts are to go into mandatory isolation and monitor their temperature and symptoms for 14 days from the date of contact. Close contacts should call their doctor if they start to feel ill. Contacts can be referred to suffolkcountyny.gov/suffolkcovid and the button which says, “I was a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19. What do I do now?” for more information.
- What if I get a call from IHP that someone who has ‘inconclusive test results’ has listed me as a recent contact?
Please isolate and social distance to the best of your ability until you receive a call that your contact tested negative. You will be called when updated test results come in, which usually takes 2-3 days. We know that this can feel mysterious when you are not told who the contact was; we will not be able to reveal this information unless the person has given explicit permission to do so, so please be understanding.
- How can I shop for groceries while on Fishers Island?
Village Market is open and well-stocked, currently able to supply all needs on the Island. You may either enter the store according to their restrictions or order ahead of time at email@example.com and your order will be brought out for pick up. See the latest here.
- Is the Island People’s Project running programs, including children’s programs? What other activities exist for children this summer?
IPP is running the Morning Program remotely beginning Monday, June 29. Find all the information and registration to this FREE program for the summer of 2020 HERE: https://fishersisland.net/ipp-morning-program-2020/
Find the IPP Family Guide for a Safe Summer here https://www.islandpeoplesproject.com/2020-family-info. This includes virtual and remote events being held by FI Museum, FI Library, and Lighthouse Works.
The following annual IPP events are unfortunately cancelled in summer 2020: the House & Garden Tour, the IPP Craft Fair, the July 4th Independence Day Parade with the Fife & Drum band, the softball league, and IPP swim lessons at Dock beach.
- Can I have service people into my house?
We recommend that only one person be let into your house at a time, that you do not get close to that person, that you both wear masks and gloves, and that you sterilize touched services after the fact, to the extent possible. It’s a good idea to open windows to air out your home. Please remind any service people who visit you from off Island to wear a mask.
- Do I need to be careful with my pets, especially my dogs? The CDC is now recommending that people follow the same social distancing guidelines with their pets as they would human family members after a small number of animals, including dogs and cats, reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 (although generally asymptomatic). CDC guidelines recommend that people restrict their pets from interacting with other animals when outside their house and urge people to keep cats indoors when possible and to walk dogs on a leash while maintaining at least six feet from other people and animals. FIDCO is aligned with CDC protocols in requiring that dogs be leashed on roads (paved and dirt) as well as the Recreation Path, and they and the Fishers Island Conservancy have put up signage as reminders.
- How can we communicate the protocol with summer renters? Mystic Isle Realty and Shutters & Sails are in close communication with IHP and they have shared our information and strongly urge home renters to opt-in to the ENROLL-TEST-CHECK-PROTECT protocol. They have also done good work to recommend cleaning and sanitizing protocols.
- What can I do to help assist the COVID-19 crisis response on Fishers Island? Do you need anything?
We are accepting donations of new surgical masks, hand sanitizers, thermometers, and surgical gloves. IHP will accept financial donations so that we may purchase more medical supplies, including tests. You can donate here. Thank you.
Mental Health Resources
NY State’s Office for Mental Health (OMH) has set up a free and confidential Emotional Support Helpline at 1-844-863-9314 staffed by volunteers, including mental health professionals, who have received training in crisis counseling and anxiety and grief. In addition, at this link, you can find some excellent documents that discuss Mental Wellness and supporting others
Reopening New York
NY State has issued Regional Guidelines for Re-Opening New York. Suffolk County has entered Phase Three re-opening. Here is a list of all phases: Phase One: Construction, Manufacturing, and wholesale supply chain, select retail using curbside pickup; Phase Two: Professional services, Finance and insurance, Retail, Administrative support, Real estate, rental leasing, and outside dining; Phase Three: Hotels and accommodations; Phase Four: Arts, entertainment and recreation, Education
The Ferry is operating under protocols including requiring masks, encouraging social distancing, and a reduced schedule of 3-4 boats/day. Ferries are thoroughly cleaned after every trip. For the latest info, click here.
The latest COVID-19 Situation Report from Suffolk County, updated daily, can be found here.Printable Version: Summer 2020 COVID-19 Info & FAQ #1