DANBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and Governor Ned Lamont are urgently pleading for people to take precautions when at social gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The COVID-19 positivity rate in Danbury recently shot up to around 7%. The rest of Connecticut has been at or below 1%.
In the last two weeks, there have been around 200 cases reported in Danbury.
Danbury Health Director Kara Prunty explained, “right now our rolling average is 22 cases per 100,000.”
The city says contact tracing has already helped follow virus spread.
Officials believe the cases have come from domestic and international travel, church services, and sports leagues. Fields are now closed.
“We are going to come down hard on upticks like this,” Gov. Lamont said.
The governor says it could be a canary in the coal mine – which is why he triggered an alert.
“I think the scale and how fast it happened were two key considerations,” he said.
On Friday, the state Department of Public Health issued a COVID-19 spike alert for the city of Danbury. Officials are now working to reduce the spread and make sure it does not affect the rest of the state.
Health officials say one local household had both an infant and an 85-year-old test positive for COVID-19, which shows the range of cases the city is seeing.
We’re also told officials will look at people aged 21-29 due to the number of recent parties at Candlewood Lake. State and city-owned boat launches have since been shut down to keep the public from gathering at the lake.
“It was the Uber of boats going back and forth to the island and 100 plus kids out there and again we’ve seen a higher infection rate among young people,” Gov. Lamont said Tuesday.
“Just remember, young people,” Gov. Lamont added, “perhaps you don’t suffer all the complications your parents or grandparents do, but you can infect. I’ve got to be very strict about this. The mayor is being very strict about this, and we are going to hold people accountable.”
Danbury Public Schools will be holding online-only classes until Oct. 1. Western Connecticut State University will start the semester online and students can not move into residence halls for at least two more weeks.
Residents of the city are asked to stay home and avoid large gatherings.
“These steps we are taking are measured, reasonable, and rational,” Mayor Boughton said. “Once a week and a half goes by, if you haven’t taken the right steps, done the right thing, it can be a runaway freight train.”
Officials believe recent prolonged power outages from Tropical Storm Isaias also sparked coronavirus spread.
“A lot of the outage here was in neighborhoods here that are congested and have multi-generational housing,” Gov. Lamont explained. “People getting together to get that air conditioning.”
“When we lost power, you could literally see on the map the spread expanding for the areas that were out for an extended period of time,” said Mayor Boughton.
Weekly testing at all nursing homes is underway. Officials are investigating an outbreak at one rehabilitation facility where four staff members and one patient recently tested positive.
So far, no fines have been handed out in this city, but around the state, seven people have been cited for not adhering to COVID-19 safety rules.
Danbury has several locations where residents can get tested for free, including:
- AFC URGENT CARE in Danbury
- CVS on 47 Lake Ave Ext. in Danbury
- DOCS URGENT CARE on 1 Padanaram Rd. in Danbury
- THE MINUTE CLINIC on 7 Durant Ave. in Bethel
- CONNECTICUT INSTITUTE FOR COMMUNITIES on 120 Main Street in Danbury
- COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER on 8 Delay Street in Danbury