The town of Scotland is reporting its first case of COVID-19 after nearly seven months of no cases since the pandemic began.
Scotland First Selectman Gary Greenberg wrote in a message on the town website that the Eastern Highlands Health district notified him on Oct. 16 that for the first time since the pandemic began, a Scotland resident has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
The town population as of the last Census was 1,726.
Greenberg said he hopes that testing, contact tracing, and isolation and quarantine will help stop the spread of the disease and urges residents to wear a mask, wash their hands and keep their distance.
“Just because it isn’t happening, just because it’s abstract, just because you may not know anybody who’s been ill, that doesn’t mean that we’re immune. And that it’s only a matter of time, as it turns out to be the case, before somebody turns up positive and from there, it can spread through a community exponentially pretty quickly. So the message is, wash your hands, wear your mask and keep your distance,” Greenberg said.
The case of COVID-19 in Scotland, which was traced to Norwich, is not yet reflected in the state's statistics. The only other Connecticut town reporting no cases is Canaan.
Stories from NBCLX
LX, or Local X stands, for the exponential possibilities of storytelling in our communities.
Greenberg said one advantage is less traffic and added that some Scotland residents have a different mailing address, which could skew the numbers.
“Whether or not our zero case rate was accurate, this news should make clear what we should have known all along: we do not live in a magic bubble. We’re all equally vulnerable to the novel coronavirus. The pandemic is a situation in which it is not sufficient to just mind your own business and let everyone else do the same. If you do not observe the simple public health guidance—masks, hand hygiene, distance—you’re not only putting yourself at risk. You are putting at risk the health of every other person with whom you come into contact, and you are prolonging the disruption the pandemic has caused,” Greenberg wrote.
Residents of Scotland said life has been altered by the pandemic.
"My habits are simple. I used to go to church and now I go to church in front of the computer. I have lovely neighbors, but we wave to each other, so I am not talking to anyone,” Linda Bird, of Scotland, said.
While Scotland had not previously reported any cases of the virus, Deidre Gifford, the acting commissioner of the state Department of Public Health, said earlier this month that they are seeing increased levels of community transmission of COVID-19 in Eastern Connecticut.
The neighboring towns of Windham and Canterbury have experienced an uptick in cases and both towns are under a red alert.
“Our population is about 5,000 so it doesn’t take a lot to bring that number up. This is the highest we have been during the pandemic,” Chris Lippke, of Canterbury, said.