New Haven sees uptick in COVID-19 cases, mayor working with local universities to keep numbers low as students move back in to dorms

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The number of COVID-19 cases in the Elm City is up 60% in the last two weeks of August. The spike just before the start of the fall semester for schools, when more people will be moving back to the city. Mayor Justin Elicker says he is working with local universities to make sure back to school is safe.

New Haven Mayor Elicker says the overall number of cases is still small compared to other parts of the country.

He spoke during freshman move-in day Tuesday at Albertus Magnus College. Students say they are well aware of the pandemic and plan to follow all safety guidelines.

“I lived through the worst of it so far so I think I can make it through,” said Roger Baldwin, who is from New Haven.

In the last two weeks, New Haven has recorded 68 positive cases, up from 41 cases in the two weeks prior to that. The city averages between one to 11 cases a day. Previously, it was averaging a maximum of six. It’s too soon for any assumptions to be made about a second “wave” or spike, but health officials are monitoring the uptick as more people come into town.

“I’m concerned about parties happening, and so we’ve had a lot of discussions about how to make sure that doesn’t happen. And if it does, that we respond very strictly so we make sure there is not a potential outbreak,” said Elicker.

“I’m more at-risk than some people so I have to be more careful than others,” said freshman Matthew Looney, who has diabetes.

Matt is already careful to wear his mask and socially distance. 

“Stay away from large groups, be safe, keep hands clean, wear a mask when he goes places. He’s been really responsible and really taking it seriously,” said Matthew’s mom, Dawn.

Albertus Magnus College President Marc Camille says the college’s small size gives it an advantage over other universities as they carefully bring students back to campus.

“Our resident halls have been structured to create social distancing spacing, the dining hall space, etc. It’s an ongoing work in progress,” said Camille.

And of course, a big message parents and college staff are drumming it into students: “Don’t go to parties,” said freshman Avlin Mayers.

The DPH says New Haven’s three universities have had two students each test positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks.

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