Ridgefield Man Becomes Connecticut's First Coronavirus Death; Cases in CT Rise to 97

Connecticut has its first death of a coronavirus patient, according to Gov. Ned Lamont.

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Connecticut has its first death of a coronavirus patient, according to Gov. Ned Lamont.

The 88-year-old man was living at Benchmark Senior Living at Ridgefield Crossing, an assisted living facility in Ridgefield. He was recently admitted to Danbury Hospital, where he died.

“The first death is not unexpected, but it is a shock. It’s a shock because it makes this so real for all our families. Our hearts go out to this man and his family,” Lamont said on Wednesday afternoon.

A Benchmark spokesperson said they have quarantined residents that had close contact with the man, and that they are monitoring all patients and workers.

Residents' temperatures are being taken daily, they are eating meals in their rooms and strict limits have been placed on visits.

"Every resident, family member and associate is an important part of the Ridgefield Crossings family. This is a difficult time for all of us, and everyone is working hard to support one another," the statement reads in part.

There are 97 positive and presumptive positive cases in Connecticut as of March 18, according to the Dept. of Public Health.

A breakdown of the first 96 patients who tested positive:

  • Fairfield County: 69
  • Hartford County: 11
  • Litchfield County: 5
  • Middlesex County: 1
  • New Haven County: 10

After the numbers were released Wednesday afternoon, health officials confirmed a 97th case in Stafford Springs.

That person is a man who was a patient at a Connecticut nursing home, according to Public Health Commissioner Renee Coleman-Mitchell.

The man was living at the Evergreen Health Center in Stafford Springs.

He is being treated at Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford Springs, Coleman-Mitchell said.

After consulting with the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Public Health will be sending teams to the facilities in Ridgefield and in Stafford Springs to try and prevent the spread of the virus through the nursing homes, according to Coleman-Mitchell.

When asked about the possibility of a government-ordered lockdown, Lamont said he hoped it didn't come to that.

“If people do the right thing, we don’t need government to enforce it," Lamont said.

Coronavirus Symptoms

The key symptoms of the coronavirus, according to the CDC are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Symptoms can appear in infected persons two to 14 days after exposure.

Coronavirus Prevention Steps

Steps for prevention from the CDC include:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
    • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
    • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, such as to the grocery store
    • Coverings should not be placed on children under 2, anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
    • The face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected
    • Do NOT use a facemask meant for a health care worker
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Steps to Self-Monitor for Coronavirus

Steps to self-monitor from the CDC include:

  1. Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
  2. Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares during the time you are practicing social distancing.
  3. Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters) and limit your activities in public.
  4. Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).

If you do get sick with a fever, cough or have trouble breathing, call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room and communicate with your doctor about your recent travel.

  • If you develop symptoms, stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school for this 14-day period. Discuss your work situation with your employer before returning to work.

The CDC has a special website set up with details about the coronavirus, including how it spreads and treatment.

Anyone with questions relating to coronavirus can call 2-1-1 or text "CTCOVID" to 898211. The 2-1-1 hotline is available 24 hours a day.

You can also visit the state's coronavirus information website here. Residents are encouraged to check the website for answers to questions before calling the hotline.

Learn More About Coronavirus - COVID-19

Learn more here from the state about Coronavirus.

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