Health officials in Cheshire use pizza to get COVID safety info to millennials, Gen Z

New Haven

CHESHIRE, Conn. (WTNH) — Pizza is a delicious staple here in Connecticut, and it is now being used to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

That sounds strange, but officials at the Chesprocott Health District – which covers Cheshire, Prospect and Wolcott – have given it serious food for thought.

Charts on their computer screens indicate the number of positive COVID-19 cases among their residents has recently spiked. The highest number of positive COVID-19 cases in that district since June 1 has been among residents 20-29-years-old. So the district jumped in to action to find a way to target health safety info for residents in that age group.

“To really drive into them the importance of using social distancing and public health mitigation strategies to lower those risks to others,” said Maura Esposito, Director of Health for the Chesprocott Health District. “That is a message very clear jumping out on the screen to me saying that you need to be focusing on that age group.”

So, they came up with a plan: a sticker plan. They created stickers with COVID-safe information on them and reached out to area pizza parlors to see if they would agree to place those stickers on pizza boxes. The hope is the info on the stickers would give the young people something to chew on when it comes to protecting themselves and others from the spread of the virus.

“Because you’re hearing these words ‘super spreaders,'” said Esposito. “These are the people that can spread it to those people that are necessarily more vulnerable.”

Cheshire Pizza & Ale is one of the pizza shops that agreed to post the stickers on their boxes. The owner tells News 8, young people make up 60% of his take-home business and they’ve noticed those safety stickers.

“They’ve been very vocal saying they appreciate the fact that we have been adhering to the guidelines and we’re trying to do our best to keep both our employees and themselves safe,” said Dimitri Magriplis.

District health officials say the graphs that will appear on their computer screens in two weeks could give them a trend line to see if the idea is working. They know it’s outside the box, but they say at this point that’s better than doing nothing.

“In public health, you have to go where you find a need — you’ve got to address the need. And that’s what we’re doing,” Esposito said,

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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