It’s time to mask up again at a number of Fairfield County government buildings, as Connecticut’s Covid infection rate continues to rise.
As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Connecticut Department of Health, the state’s positivity rate stood at 3.35% – the first time it has risen above 3% in several weeks. As with most of the country, the increase is believed to mostly be due to the spread of the Delta variant.
Around the state, Delta now represents nearly 80% of recent cases; it stood at around 15% a few weeks ago.
Gov. Ned Lamont and Dr. Deidre Gifford, acting commissioner of the Health Department and senior adviser to the governor for health and human services, have expressed concern over recent Covid outbreaks among vaccinated and unvaccinated persons in the state:
- A birthday party took place in June with about 50 attendees, resulting in 16 cases of Covid-19 in the subsequent week. The birthday party started outdoors and then moved indoors. Unvaccinated attendees at this party were four times as likely to test positive than those who were vaccinated, with a total of 6 cases among 33 fully or partially vaccinated attendees and 10 cases among 13 unvaccinated attendees. Four cases were hospitalized as a result.
- A summer camp of about 50 campers and about 20 staff members experienced a Covid outbreak in July with 13 identified cases among campers. All staff have been vaccinated and no cases have been identified among staff. The campers are 11 to 14 years of age and their vaccination status is unknown.
- A total of 28 residents have been identified as Covid-19 cases associated with an outbreak in Massachusetts, having traveled to Provincetown, Massachusetts (26) or having had contact with a case that traveled to Provincetown (2) in July. A total of 26 (93%) of the cases were fully vaccinated. None of the cases were hospitalized.
The Health Department reminded residents that social gatherings with a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated persons should be outdoors, and that indoor gatherings should include masks. It also noted that unvaccinated children are susceptible to Covid-19 and should get vaccinated before school starts.
It also strongly recommends that unvaccinated individuals get vaccinated as soon as possible to help stop the ongoing spread of the Delta variant. To date, 63% of residents are fully vaccinated and 70% have received at least one shot.
Rather than implement a statewide masking policy, the governor has left such actions to municipal leaders – with the result that some are already reinstituting the practice.
Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling has reinstated an indoor mask mandate “for all people – vaccinated or unvaccinated – at all city properties, including City Hall,” according to a statement. “This mandate applies to all visitors and staff. Members of the public should know that we are doing everything we can to keep them safe. That is why I am also encouraging all our residents to wear a face mask indoors at busy public places.”
The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk is now requiring masks to be worn for everyone aged 2 and up, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated.
Elsewhere, town employees, regardless of vaccination status, are being required to wear masks in the Darien and Brookfield town halls, a move that Greenwich is expected to follow soon.
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