Health officials in Wilton are investigating a COVID-19 outbreak among Wilton High School students after gatherings over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend and said they have linked 25 cases of the virus to gatherings.
Wilton health officials identified the source of the outbreak as a gathering on Friday, Jan. 15.
They said two high school students who attended the gathering reported positive COVID-19 tests on Jan. 20. Officials learned that protocols on gathering size limits due to the pandemic, mask-wearing and social distancing were not followed at the gathering.
Officials also learned of two additional gatherings where protocols were not followed – one on Saturday, Jan. 16 and some students went to both gatherings. There was another gathering on Saturday that attendees of one or more of the two other gatherings might have attended.
A report from Wilton Health Director Barry Bogle said 16 Wilton High School students who attended the gatherings tested positive and are under isolation and three students who did not attend, but had direct contact with attendees, were also confirmed positive and are under isolation.
The high school was ordered to close on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and all students were asked to stay home and monitor for symptoms. On Jan. 25, the request to stay home was rescinded and replaced with a request to monitor for four more days.
In addition to the 16 Wilton High School students, one Middlebrook student and one Cider Mill student who did not attend but had direct contact with attendees tested positive.
There are four others who are not of school age who did not attend but had direct contact with attendees and tested positive and there is one pending test.
One Wilton High School student who attended the gatherings had not participated in contact tracing as of Wednesday, the report says. That student was at school on Tuesday, Jan. 19 and no information was available on the student’s health status. The report from Bogle, “clearly demonstrated the critical importance of the swift response by school and health department personal and the cooperation of gathering attendees. The number of positive cases connected to the gathering stood at 25 as of yesterday afternoon. Without swift containment, cooperation and contact tracing, yesterday’s cases easily could have been double that or more.,” Wilton First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice wrote in a post on the town’s website.
Wilton High School’s principal addressed the outbreak and the gatherings in a YouTube video and the impact. He urged parents to take ownership of what happens in their own families and what students engage in amid the ongoing pandemic.
"This is not the time for these gatherings," Principal Robert O'Donnell urged in the video.
He said you never know if a student might be ill, if a student is asymptomatic.