Hamden mayor reinstates mask mandate amid uptick in COVID cases


HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — As COVID-19 rates continue to rise across the state amid the new variant Omicron, the town of Hamden has decided to reinstate its mask mandate.

Hamden Mayor Lauren Garrett told WTNH that the mandate wasn’t an “if” but “when.”

“I’ve been speaking with officials on this issue every single day and really deciding ‘when do we do this,'” Garrett said.

She explained that now was the time, due to an uptick in COVID-19 positivity rates and hospitalizations.

“Seeing those things happen, I was already moving towards mandating masks,” Garrett said. “Then you know, we got word that Omicron was present in Hamden and it was you know, the third strike.”

The town still required masks in town buildings and schools, but on Saturday, the order expanded the mandate to all indoor spaces. Although adults are continuing to get booster shots and kids are getting their first doses, more people are indoors and gathering during the holiday season.

“It’s a holiday season when we need to care for each other and one of the ways that you can care for one another is just by wearing your mask,” Garrett said.

East Hartford and Newington are taking similar steps by reinstating mask mandates in municipal buildings.

Dr. Sharon Stoll, a neuroimmunologist at Yale Medicine, said the virus still remains unpredictable.

“Most of the hospitalization or COVID-positive cases are unvaccinated patients, but we are seeing vaccinated individuals end up in the hospital as well,” Dr. Stoll said.

According to the CDC, just over 30 percent of people fully vaccinated in Connecticut have received their booster shots, and we’re almost a year since the first vaccines were given to healthcare workers.

Dr. Stoll urges Connecticut residents to get vaccinated or receive your booster shot if you haven’t and wear a mask.

“The more layers of protection that you have, the less likely it is to get through or the more likely you are to be protected,” Dr. Stoll said.

Dr. Stoll also encourages people to continue washing their hands and avoid large crowds, especially indoors.

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