COVID-19 - Town News and Community Updates

Town officials are working closely with partners at the state and federal levels, as well as our partners here in Westbrook to monitor and respond to COVID-19, the 2019 novel Coronavirus. 

Westbrook Health Department updates can be found here. 
Summary Status of Town Services can be found here.

Updated March 20, 2020

Statewide updates can be found here.

Community Updates

First Selectman Noel Bishop is providing Westbrook-area specific updates. 

Please click here to download the text of this latest update. 

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Westbrook, Ct. - A Friendly Port

Released:  April 3, 2020


MEMORANDUM

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Town of Westbrook Corona Virus Update

From:  First Selectman Noel Bishop

I wish to bring you up to date on the following items of interest relative to the Covid 19 Pandemic:

The Town Hall remains closed to the public except via telephone, email, or personal appointments. However, our Municipal Government continues to be staffed and all core responsibilities have proceeded without interruption.  Your municipal staff continues to do an incredible job.

Several of you contacted us about your concern for our senior citizens.  Courtney Burks, Senior Center Director, has been in daily contact with our seniors.  Their requests for food and related items are being addressed despite the fact that we closed our Center two weeks ago.

With the exception of the Board of Finance, there have been no other Board/Commission meetings scheduled in the last two weeks.   The meetings of the BOF will be posted on the town’s website.  Governor Lamont, in one of his Executive Orders, has stipulated that there can be no in person public meetings relative to the 20/21 Budget.  It is important however, to note that on April 29, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. a virtual Public Hearing is scheduled to allow you to comment on the proposed FY 20/21 Operating and Capital budgets.

On May 5, 2020 at 7:00 p.m., again via a virtual meeting, the BOF will approve the budget and set the mill rate.  There will be more information on how the public can access these meetings via video and teleconferencing.

The Public WILL NOT have an opportunity to vote on the 20/21 budget; however, your voice on the budget is very important and we strongly urge you to participate in Board of Finance meetings and the Public Hearing via video and teleconferencing.

I encourage everyone to access the town’s website, www.westbrookct.us, since there are multiple “posts” on the page each week.  We know that you are responding since in the month of March, there were 9,201 “hits” on the town’s site and for the first two days in April, over 600 people accessed the webpage.

I continue, along with our Director of Health Zachary Faiella; Director of Emergency Management, Don Izzo, to monitor the almost daily press conferences from Governor Lamont.  To date, over 25 Executive Orders have been issued by his office and when information is applicable to Westbrook, it is immediately communicated to all appropriate parties. 

The Governor has been notified by FEMA that Connecticut is a major disaster area and this means that Westbrook will be “tracking” all expenses related to Covid 19.  These expenses will be submitted to FEMA, hopefully, for up to 75% reimbursement. 

Yesterday, in the most recent Executive Order, Inns and lodging establishments were directed to cancel reservations for the next 30 days and refund customers.  Front line responders and health care personnel may be housed in our B&Bs and local lodges, etc.  The majority of our businesses have been adversely affected by the closing or restrictions on their services. I urge all of you to continue to patronize them. 

The Director of Health and I will continue to provide any new information on a regular basis.  I encourage you to go on ZIP 06 (Harbor News) since we immediately provide updates to the newspaper. 

I appreciate that so many of you and your neighbors are doing things to encourage all of us to do our part during these extremely difficult times. 


Thank you for your community spirit.



Released: March 30, 2020  11:015 am

MEMORANDUM

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

DATE:                    March 30, 2020

TO:                         All Employees, Board and Commission Chairmen

FROM:                  Noel Bishop, First Selectman

RE:                          COVID-19 Update

I want to bring to your attention an important update from Zachary Faiella, Director of Health.

The Health Department has:

Conducted investigations, interviews and contact tracing for COVID-19

Participated in daily conference calls and meetings with Governor Ned Lamont, the CT Department of Public Health (DPH), fellow health directors and emergency preparedness officials

Held briefings with the First Selectman, the Public Health Nursing Coordinator and others

Conducted community education on preventing illness

Implemented preventative illness measures in favor of public health

The nation, the State and the Town of Westbrook remain in a declared state of emergency.  As of 3/28/20, the Town of Westbrook has two confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19).  There are also confirmed cases in adjacent towns, such as Old Saybrook, Clinton, Killingworth and Deep River.  It is an unfortunate fact that community transmission of COVID-19 is occurring in Connecticut as we see more confirmed cases each day in the State.


A couple of measures taken in favor of public health include:

On March 13th, in conjunction with Westbrook Superintendent of Schools Pat Ciccone and First Selectman Noel Bishop, the closure of Westbrook Public Schools became effective, five days before the Governor issued an Executive Order closing all CT Public Schools.

On March 19th, the Westbrook Health Department directed the closure of all body care establishments in Westbrook, including salons, barbershops and spas, one day before the Governor issued an Executive Order closing all CT body establishments.  The closure of these businesses is strictly because the nature of their profession puts them in direct contact with customers, which increases exposure risk to both parties.

On March 24th, in conjunction with Westbrook Park and Recreation Director Rich Annino and Superintendent Pat Ciccone, the closure of all playgrounds in Westbrook became effective.  This is due to the unfortunate fact that some people were not seriously adhering to our social distancing guidelines, as “playdates” and parental gatherings were reported.  Through discussion with other local Health Departments, this issue was occurring widely and many other municipalities took action as well.

The Westbrook Health Department has recommended the closure of the Senior Center, the Library, and the cancellation of Park and Recreation activities.  Other essential Town services have continued, but with restrictions.

We have closed the Town Beach on Seaside Avenue pending further notification.

No one has experienced a pandemic like this before, but it will require a community effort to overcome.  Each person must to their part to prevent transmission of COVID-19 in Westbrook, the State and the nation as a whole.  Social distancing and physical separation are the number one non-pharmaceutical interventions proven by science to “flatten the curve”.  COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.  These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Everyone must adhere to the simple, common sense preventative illness measure brought forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CT Department of Public Health and the Town of Westbrook Health Department.

The Town of Westbrook Health Department will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic.  Should you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact the office of the Director of Health and continue daily to access the Town’s website at www.westbrookct.us.

Released: March 23, 2020  4:00 pm

MEMORANDUM

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


DATE:                    March 23, 2020

TO:                         All Town Hall Employees, Board and Commission Chairmen and Westbrook Residents

FROM:                  Noel Bishop, First Selectman

RE:                          Town Hall/Corona Virus Update

I want to provide an update on items of importance to all of us.  Last week, we closed the Town Hall and did a deep cleaning of our municipal facilities consistent with CDC guidelines to ensure the health of our municipal staff.  During this time, all vital services to the public were continued.  This morning, all Department Heads met and we reviewed how we will continue to perform core responsibilities without any interruption of services to Westbrook residents.

I am enormously impressed with the commitment and teamwork that has been demonstrated by our employees doing everything we can, consistent with Governor Lamont’s various Executive Orders. 

To continue essential town services, the Town Hall is staffed with the following procedures.  The doors of the building will be locked, and ALL members of the public will need to make an appointment with the appropriate department regarding their concerns.  Whenever possible, specific issues should be discussed with the employee by telephone or email thereby minimizing social contact.  If necessary, a time can be arranged with an employee to meet with you in person to assist with your issue.  

 The Director of Health and I have participated in Governor Lamont’s almost daily press briefings.  Additionally, as a member of the Executive Committee of the Council of Governments, I have received communication from the other 17 towns and the above protocol for Westbrook’s municipal offices is consistent with what many of my colleagues are doing in their respective municipalities.  To date, four of the towns have already totally closed their offices.  Also, the Superintendent of Schools and I have been in daily contact with messages that she is communicating to parents.

My office has issued several communications that have been posted on our website; social media when appropriate and the Director of Health and I recorded a program last week at the Valley Shore Community Television studio that is also on our website reinforcing all of the CDC guidelines for how to mitigate this serious virus.   There has been and will continue to be constant communication with frequent updates. 

I have been in contact with our local restaurants and, as per the Governor’s orders, only take-out service is available.  I encourage you to give them and all of our Westbrook businesses your support.  Additionally, in a conversation with Vin Capece, President and CEO, Middlesex Health, they are prepared to care for individuals but request that your primary care physician be your first point of contact if you are experiencing any symptoms of the Corona Virus.  Please go directly to the Emergency Room if your symptoms appear to be acute.

The Director of Health, in conjunction with Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 7B, recommends no in-person Board/Commission meetings in Town Hall but rather Board members and the public must participate in meetings via teleconferencing or video call.  The logistics of that are still being finalized.  I would request that all of our Boards/Commissions, unless absolutely necessary, do not schedule any meetings until further notice; with the exception of the Board of Finance that will need to continue their budget deliberations but with restrictions. 

Finally, on a personal  note, my wife, Kit, and I try to take a walk everyday and take a deep breath and reflect for a moment that during this time of crisis, we live in Westbrook; a community that cares very deeply about family, neighborhoods and friends.  We are all in this together.


The Governor’s central message is “stay home, stay safe”.  Please see the town’s website at here or click here for the Governor’s FAQ document and additional information.


As all of us know, the status of the virus and its impact on our communities might necessitate a change in the above procedures and protocols.

 

Thank you,


Noel Bishop, First Selectman


Released: March 19, 2020  3:30 pm

The Town Hall was closed this past week on advice of our Health Director in order to conduct a thorough cleaning of our municipal buildings, according to CDC guidelines, to ensure the safety of our employees and the public.  During this time, vital services to the public have continued: constables have been on duty; VNA nurses and first responders have been available.   The Town Clerk, Building Official, Director of Health, Finance Office and Selectman’s Office staff have continued with their responsibilities.  The Director of Health and I have been in daily contact and have been monitoring all Press Conferences and Executive Orders from the Governor regarding guidelines on meeting the tremendous needs of this health emergency. 

As First Selectman, I realize the importance and responsibility that your local government has, as one major point of contact for information and support during this crisis.

To continue essential town services, the Town Hall will re-open on Monday, 3/23/20 at 9:00 a.m. with the following procedure.  The doors of the building will be locked, and ALL members of the public will need to make an appointment with the appropriate department regarding their concerns.  Whenever possible, specific issues should be discussed with the employees by telephone or email thereby minimizing social contact.  If necessary, a time can be arranged with an employee to meet with you in person to assist with your issue.  This is a protocol that several other municipal governments have adopted.

We need to finalize procedures for meetings of our Boards and Commissions consistent with Governor Lamont’s Emergency Orders and Freedom of Information guidelines. 

To reiterate, the Town Hall will be open, by appointment, phone, or email only.  

The Senior Center, Park and Rec. programs and the Library will remain closed until further notice.  These are the necessary health procedures that we must take to limit the potential spread of the virus.

We appreciate your patience, support and cooperation. 

Noel Bishop, First Selectman

Zachary Faiella, Director of Health

Click here to access the directory of departmental contact information:  click_here_green