Old Saybrook at high COVID-19 vaccination due to public safety coordination and resident participation


OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. (WTNH) — The minute the pandemic began the town of Old Saybrook started up a daily, then weekly newsletter, informing its 10,000 residents on the very latest known about COVID-19.

Public safety officials then worked on outreach, starting in places like senior housing, offering information and vaccine access. The result of these efforts puts the town at a vaccination rate of 72 percent.

“We knocked on the door of the executive director and said bring your people over or should we come to you and a lot of times we went to them,” says Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna.

Old Saybrook also has a voluntary database of citizens who are shut-ins or have health conditions making them vulnerable. They were contacted personally.

Fortuna credits his Chief of Police and Emergency Management Director Michael Spera for the planned coordination, as well as the leader of the Connecticut River Area Health District.

With a high vaccination rate and a lower number of COVID-19 cases, Fortuna is thrilled that Governor Ned Lamont is re-opening the state in phases in May. Places like The Kate Theater will bring patrons back.

“The Kate is so vital to our economic engine on Main Street,” says Fortuna.

He says before COVID, the Kate attracted 30,000 people a year to Main Street, and to shops and restaurants. Now that can resume.

He says the theater may invest in an outdoor sound system for future outdoor concerts and events.

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