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Cornwall ‘apart together’ in COVID-19

CORNWALL — Facing the COVID-19 challenge with confidence in the people who live in Cornwall, the Board of Selectmen heard a report on town resources in place to help residents, during their regular meeting on Tuesday, March 17.

First Selectman Gordon Ridgway communicated to residents, “We’re here. Even though we’re apart [keeping our distance one from another], we’re together as a community: apart together.”

Ridgway also issued a letter to residents on Friday, March 20, updating them on measures to combat the virus and providing information on services available.

Although Town Hall remains closed to visitors, the staff is there on the regular schedule. Residents can contact town officials by email or phone.

The town’s email notification system has jumped from around 100 pre-virus subscribers to a new total exceeding 143. Selectman Marina Kotchoubey urged residents to sign up at www.cornwallct.org or call Town Hall to be added to the list.

Kotchoubey also suggested that businesses or organizations who have cancellation news or other updates for their activities email cwlnews@optonline.net.

“People are working hard trying to get through this together,” Ridgway said. He cautioned that COVID-19 is coming.

“Contagious people are probably nearby,” he added. “Assume that it’s here. We have to act like it’s here. Encourage people to stay put.”

The town has activated its Community Emergency Response Team. The team consists of town officials, fire and ambulance officers, emergency managers and health professionals.

In response to a request, 12 to 15 volunteers have come forward to help with making home deliveries of groceries, medications and other supplies.

“It’s never too late to volunteer,” Ridgway said. Although the food pantry is closed, volunteers will deliver supplies to households in need. Deliveries are arranged by phoning Social Services at 860-672-2603.

“We are deepening our bench of people,” Ridgway said.

The selectmen urged residents to donate to the Food and Fuel Fund, which is being impacted by a growing need.

“The town is full,” Ridgway said, noting the full-time presence of people who are normally here part-time. With a word of welcome to all, he said that while some have generously volunteered their variety of professional talents, others can be thinking of things they could do to help.

“People we didn’t even know were here are volunteering,” Ridgway observed.

Newly implemented counseling services are in the works, Ridgway said. Counseling professionals who are sequestered in their homes are offering their help to residents. To arrange for counseling services, people can phone the Social Services department.

Jonathan Berry, the Town Hall administrative assistant, is calling residents regularly to see how they are doing or if they need anything. He reports that the usual reply is that they are doing just fine and don’t need a thing.

The highway department is working and so is the transfer station.

“Move it” is the new motto of the transfer station, however. The intent is to move people through efficiently while maintaining distance. Ridgway said that people visiting the transfer station must curtail their usual inclination to socialize with the two-man crew.

“Residents’ actions today will determine the quality of life in Cornwall in the coming days and weeks,” Ridgway said, urging that residents not travel to COVID-19 hot spots, such as the New York City metropolitan area.

Note: The trivia night at the Cornwall Library that had been scheduled for April 11 will now be held online, tonight, March 26,from 6 to 8:15 p.m.

To be included, send an email to organizers Gary Steinkohl and Casey Cook at info@cornwallassociation.org.

Details of the competition will be sent to anyone who has emailed a request or who was signed up for the April 11 event.

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