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Westport Center for Senior Activities to Suspend Programming Due to COVID-19

Post Date:03/11/2020 1:00 PM

Department of Human Services (DHS) Director Elaine Daignault has announced that the Westport Center for Senior Activities (WCSA) will suspend daily programs until further notice.  This decision has been made after a thorough examination of the widespread health risks posed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The closure impacts all activities held by the WCSA, except for the Home Delivered Meal Program which will continue to deliver to homebound seniors.  Starting Thursday, there will be no daily congregate luncheon program or outside groups utilizing the facility.  The WCSA building will be open on Mondays through Fridays from 8:30am-4:30pm during this period, but there will be no programs, activities or scheduled events occurring.

WCSA Director Susan Pfister stated, “The Center has been diligent in following CDC guidelines and have continued to encourage residents to regularly wash their hands, cover a cough or sneeze, and to remain at home when feeling unwell in order to minimize the spread of the virus, stated.”

She continued, “there is NO indication of reported cases of the COVID-19 at the WCSA at this time.  The Governor’s recent announcement to declare a public health emergency and a civil preparedness emergency in response to the coronavirus exemplifies just how serious this situation is.  This decision to suspend all programming was based on the health and safety of our senior participants, their families and out of an abundance of caution for the greater community.” 

Although the WCSA will be closed for general programming, the staff will be on-site for routine administrative operations and communications via telephone and email in order to remain connected to residents Mondays through Fridays from8:30am-4:30pm.  To contact the WCSA via phone, please call 203.341.5099 and/or email  seniorcenter@westportct.gov.

The Town of Westport is encouraging all residents to practice social distancing by maintaining a 6-foot distance between yourself and others and to take extra precautions by planning for possible social isolation by stocking their pantries with enough food for two to four weeks, procuring necessary medicine and reaching out to loved ones and neighbors to inform them of their status.  Neighbors are encouraged to check on seniors in their neighborhoods via telephone and to offer assistance and/or refer them to Human Services as needed.   

It is advisable to follow reliable news sources for updates including www.westportct.gov, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus, www.wwhd.org, and www.ct.gov/coronavirus. Any resident seeking more local information and resources regarding the COVID-19, can receive the Town’s press releases by going to www.WestportCT.Gov/subscribe and select “town news.”  Residents are encouraged to sign up for the Westport emergency notification system by texting 06880 to 888777 to subscribe and/or go online to sign up. 

As a reminder, the WCSA is a program of the Department of Human Services (DHS) which offers a variety of services to residents.  DHS will continue to provide essential support services in the safest possible environment for staff and with careful consideration of our most vulnerable clients.  

Residents requiring additional support are encouraged to call 203.341.1050 and/or visit the Human Services webpage on the Town website for information on available services including the Westport Emergency Assistance application for Seniors and people with disabilities who live alone and/or have special medical needs requiring assistance in times of emergency.   To apply for regular check-ins during an emergency please complete the form online and/or request a paper copy.  Seniors can also call DHS at 203.341.1050 to provide information over the phone.  

COVID-19 is an evolving situation which is changing day-to-day and hour-to-hour. The DHS, as part of the Emergency Operations Team, is engaged in meetings and coordinating with other government town agencies, and has contingency plans to address varying situations as they unfold. 

The uncertainty related to COVID-19 may cause an increase in anxiety and depression among residents.  If you are a parent or a caregiver, and are looking for ways to manage the stress, the following articles may be helpful in establishing healthy coping and communication skills around this issue.

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/how-to-talk-to-children-about-the-coronavirus-2020030719111

https://acl.gov/COVID-19

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/03/03/811656226/pandemic-panic-these-5-tips-can-help-you-regain-your-calm

The health and safety of our residents is our top priority and we stand ready to help as needed.

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