Podcast: New Canaan Health Director Jenn Eielson on COVID-19 Virus, Vaccinations

This week on 0684-Radi0, our free podcast (subscribe here in the iTunes Store), we talk to New Canaan Health Director Jenn Eielson about COVID-19 virus—how the town is faring in reducing infection rates and getting residents vaccinated, what are some common misconceptions regarding coronavirus and whether Jenn has enough peanut butter and chocolate to get through these next few months. 

Here are recent episodes of 0684-Radi0:

Health Director: New Canaan’s Vaccine Allocation Doubles [UPDATE]

[Note: This article has been updated to say the state is discussing prioritizing vaccinations for 65- to 74-year-olds next.]

New Canaan is seeing new positive cases of COVID-19 virus trend down week-by-week, Health Director Jenn Eielson said Thursday, and the state recently doubled the number of vaccinations made available to the town. The town saw a “sustained high” in cases starting in early November, and that’s been changing recently, “so this is good progress,” Eielson told members of the Health & Human Services Commission during their regular meeting, held via videoconference. “But we knew that was going to happen with the holidays and gatherings,” she said. “So this is good news.”

In offering COVID testing with Waveny LifeCare Network, the town is seeing about 92% of open slots filled up, which is “great news,” Eielson said. “People are still testing and wanting to be tested.

New Canaan Health Director on Vaccine Allocation: ’We Just Need the State To Be a Little Nicer’

New Canaan’s health director estimated Thursday that roughly half of the town’s 75-and-over population had started the process of getting COVID-19 vaccinations. The figure includes those in Waveny LifeCare Network facilities, though it’s not definitive because the state’s management system for administering vaccines doesn’t provide that level of detail, according to Jenn Eielson. “I am hopeful, because we still have a lot of people on our list that have called and want to be on it, so even if we can get 200 doses next week it would be a huge help because a lot of these—especially the 85-and-up—really can’t get to these other sites and have mobility issues,” Eielson told the Board of Selectmen during their regular meeting, held via videoconference. “And we spend so much time at the clinic helping them, not only getting them from the car, then to the booth, filing out their paper work, walking them to the other rooms, [Recreation Director] Steve Benko walking them back to the car. You’re not going to get that personal level at a hospital or anywhere else.

Health Director: New Canaan Woman’s COVID-19 Complaint About Local Restaurant Unfounded

Municipal health officials said a New Canaan woman’s complaint last month that a restaurant downtown had been violating COVID-19-related rules was determined to be unfounded. According to a complaint that Tucker Murphy lodged with New Canaan’s highest elected official, the White Buffalo bar and restaurant  was “not following the Sector Rules” on the night of Friday, Dec. 11. Murphy phoned First Selectman Kevin Moynihan to say that the popular local business “was overcrowded,” according to email records obtained by NewCanaanite.com through a public records request. 

Health Director Jenn Eielson referred to the complaint in emailing White Buffalo owner Dom Valente on Dec. 14.