Letters to the Editor - The Lakeville Journal - 11-25-21
Heroic effort at Geer but poor communication
Everyone hopes that the tragic outbreak of the Covid delta variant at Geer Nursing Home in North Canaan is now over.
Of 77 residents there, 67 caught it, and eight died. In addition, 22 staff caught it while fighting it. Fortunately none of them died. Their effort was heroic.
The problem was with communication. It took a full month before any news of this deadly outbreak was reported to the public, and that only came from a private tip to the press, not from Geer. At the Lakeville Journal, it was five weeks before there was any reporting on it.
Even some of the families of Geer residents did not learn for several weeks that what had started as a minor outbreak had grown so large and deadly.
In the past, there had been numerous small outbreaks at Geer that ended without further incident. This one, in the absence of communication, seemed for weeks to be just another of those minor cases, although it was actually spreading like wildfire.
This outbreak was extraordinary not only for its size and scope but because 99% of its victims were breakthrough cases of people already vaccinated.
That fact alone should have prompted Geer officials and the few others who knew about it like Canaan selectman Charlie Perotti and state Rep. Maria Horn to broadcast it immediately in order to alert area residents of the danger that could spread anywhere at any time, to warn the public that the old vaccines were wearing off, and to highlight the great need to get booster shots.
Geer itself could have and should have updated the press each week throughout this crisis. But even now, Geer says it only needs to notify “community stakeholders” — an apparent reference to the few officials it previously told.
When there’s a fire or electric wires down, you don’t just post something on your website or only inform people in the affected area or the town selectman. You blow the siren.
Many questions remain unanswered:
Since visitors were banned and the residents were kept in their rooms, was this outbreak spread mainly by staff?
If the 22 infected staff were catching and spreading it for days before their own infections were discovered by symptoms or their next scheduled test, is there any evidence that it was also spread to the outlying communities where the staff live?
Does “bi-weekly” Geer testing mean twice a week, or once every two weeks?
Did Geer receive staffing or other assistance from the state or other sources?
Did Geer notify Beckley House, an independent apartment building full of seniors, which is just yards away from the nursing home? Were other senior sites notified?
An editor at the Republican-American stated that the paper made multiple calls to Geer for a follow-up report in the second week of November. He said those calls went unanswered for a week.
Again, the effort fighting the outbreak was exceptional. The communication was not.
Truly blessed to live in this town
I just felt I needed to let you know about something that happened to me last Friday at our local post office in Lakeville! For the past 10 years I have been sending my grandchildren a letter and I mail it every Friday morning at the drive-in at the Lakeville Post Office.
Last Friday morning we had a tremendous rain and wind storm and all the mail in the box was completely soaked! On Friday afternoon I received a fabulous phone call from one of our wonderful workers who told me that she had my letter and saw that it was completely wet and ruined and you could also see that I had put some cash in there too with my letter! She asked me to come down and get it and I was so thankful when I got there!! Can you imagine this happening in another town?
I thought of one of our first grade sayings “Thank you makes smiles grow!” and I sat down and wrote a thank you note to our workers at the Post Office.
We are all truly blessed to live in this town! Very sincerely.
Eversource rates rising
In response to Liz Piel of Sharon, who wrote a letter recently on Eversource’s revenge on the public through tree cutting, I too have wondered that myself. But another thing that I have noticed, how the tree company trucks that are now replacing poles, which was sorely needed, have no affiliation to Eversource on the sides of their trucks.
Obviously, they are engaged by Eversource, so now I see, our electric rates are increasing in January by nearly 30%. They’re high enough, but I suppose Eversource needs to pay their extra help. They realize that poverty level people, even the elderly on fixed incomes, need electric, when there are some who can’t pay their bills as it is.
Well Liz, this is revenge I guess for all that criticism out there about Eversource. They must like holding a grudge.
Winter clothing going from church to NECC
All Saints of America Orthodox Church would like to thank the members of our community for their donations of winter clothing these past two years. We were unable to have our annual winter clothing drive, and in order to keep the donations local, we decided to donate the clothes to the Northeast Community Center in Millerton to help with their drive.
We hope to have our own drive again next year.
President, Church Council