HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The coronavirus has claimed its first life in the state of Connecticut.
Governor Ned Lamont announced Wednesday that an 88-year-old man, who was admitted to Danbury Hosptial on March 16, died of COVID-19 complications. He was a resident of Benchmark Senior Living in Ridgefield.
“The first death is not unexpected, but it’s a shock,” Lamont said during a news conference. “It’s a shock because it makes this so real for all of our families. Our hearts go out to that man and his family.”
A spokesperson for the senior living facility said in a statement, “Benchmark Senior Living at Ridgefield Crossings is extremely saddened to confirm the tragic passing of a valued member of our community, one of our residents. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with his family during this difficult time, and we are deeply committed to helping our residents and associates heal from this loss.”
The facility said those who had “high exposure” with the resident were promptly quarantined and they are closely monitoring the other residents.
“Sadly, we can confirm the passing of an 88-year-old Ridgefield, CT man due to COVID-19,” Andrea Rynn, spokesperson with Danbury Hospital said. “We express our deepest sympathy to his loved ones. Our staff continues to implement every precaution per CDC and CT DPH guidelines for prevention and containment as we care for other patients in our hospitals.”
Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi said dozens in town are being monitored right now for the virus.
WATCH: Gov. Lamont announces CT’s first COVID-19 death
“Do you know how many people in this town are being monitored? You’d be shocked,” Marconi said. “There is no vaccine for this. The only tool that we have in our toolbox right now is social distancing.”
Currently, there are 96 confirmed cases of the virus in the state. Nearly 70 of those cases are in Fairfield County. More than 100 people have died from the virus in the United States.
A statement released by the governor read:
It is with sadness today that we are confirming the first death of a person in Connecticut due to severe complications from COVID-19. The patient, a man in his 80s, had recently been admitted to Danbury Hospital, where he was receiving treatment. He had been a resident of an assisted living facility in Ridgefield. I want to thank all of the doctors, nurses, and medical professionals at the hospital who did everything in their power to save his life. I also want to acknowledge the dedicated professionals from hospitals and medical centers throughout our state who continue to work on the front lines and treat patients, in addition to all of the support staff who are providing critical assistance through this trying time.
We know that people of an advanced age and in certain conditions are among the most at risk of this disease, however I urge everyone in Connecticut – regardless of age or condition – to take an active role in doing their part to reduce the spread of this virus throughout our communities so we can protect one another.
Senator Richard Blumenthal added,
My thoughts go out to the family during this difficult time. This tragic death demonstrates the critical need for more robust federal action to fight this insidious deadly epidemic. Swift, strong federal action – a true medical surge – must include more tests, ventilators, personal protective equipment, and other vital supplies. We are crafting an additional package, after the one we passed today, providing massive resources. I will continue work with Governor Lamont as well as state and local health officials to ensure Connecticut is taking appropriate steps to combat this epidemic. I urge residents to continue to follow the recommendations of CDC to keep yourselves, your friends and families safe.
State officials remind residents to was their hands and keep practicing social distancing.