COVID-19: 55.3% of New Canaanites Have Received a Booster Shot

Though just 55.3% of all New Canaanites have received at least one booster shot for COVID-19 virus, that percentage is still is relatively high compared to the rest of the state, according to Health Director Jenn Eielson. One reason may be that New Canaan is still holding clinics routinely, whereas many towns and even pharmacies have gotten away from the practice, Eielson said during the June 2 meeting of the Health & Human Services Commission, held via videoconference. 

“And a lot of people are holding out for the fall and seeing if there’s going to be a different Omicron-specific booster because they don’t want to get it in May and be told in October they can’t get another one,” she said. She spoke in response to Commissioner Jim Lisher, who asked whether there’s anything the town could do to encourage more residents to get at least a third dose of vaccine. “I know a lot of people at all ages that are saying ‘Oh, I don’t need a booster, I didn’t need the first booster let alone the second booster,’ “ Lisher said. “Is there anything we can do or anything anyone is doing around the state to get these people who are rational, educated people, and the reason they don’t want to do it is because they know they’ll have a reaction for a day maybe two days?” He said. 

Lisher added, “Is there anything anybody is using as a campaign to get up to 90-plus (percent) on demographic cohorts?”

The discussion came during Eielson’s general report to the Commission.

Town Teaming Up with Laurel House To Provide Services at Canaan Parish, Millport Apartments

The town is availing itself of a Stamford-based nonprofit organization to help provide services to residents of affordable housing in New Canaan. Members of the New Canaan Department of Human Services “have found there’s needed services possibly at Canaan Parish and Millport Apartments, bringing some information and help to those that might need it but aren’t aware of it,” Youth and Family Services Coordinator Jacqueline D’Louhy said during the March 3 meeting of the Health and Human Services Commission. “So we’ve teamed up with Laurel House,” D’Louhy said during the meeting, held via videoconference. “They have a wonderful caseworker there that has offered to come to both sites.”

Laurel House offers a wide range of mental health services and programs throughout lower Fairfield County, including in New Canaan, according to the organization’s website. “Programs and services include recovery planning, life skills coaching and skill building, supported education, supported employment, ‘Thinking Well’ (cognitive remediation), housing and residential services, food service and wellness, social opportunities, and active outreach to individuals who might otherwise be isolated,” it says.

ARPA: Health and Human Services Commission Should Advise Town on Future Allocations, Members Say

An appointed body that oversees New Canaan’s Health and Human Services departments should be doing more to help the town set priorities on spending what remains of $6 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding, its members say. The Town Council last month approved about $2 million in “ARPA” spending, including allocations for “premium pay” for school and town workers, greenlink sidewalks, year-round public bathrooms, a generator and marketing. Yet the Health and Human Services Commission “should be giving more assistance and support to our elected officials on priority funding,” Russ Barksdale Jr., a member of the Commission, said at its Jan. 6 meeting. “I did not see any priority funding given to our local or town Health Department, as an example,” Barksdale said at the meeting, held via videoconference.