State Identifies COVID-19 Hot Spots, Will Focus Vaccination Efforts

Thirteen towns and cities in Connecticut have been identified as areas of concern. Now the state is working to send resources to those hot spots.

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During his briefing Thursday, Gov. Ned Lamont specifically identified several Connecticut towns and cities where the state is seeing COVID-19 hot spots. They are predominantly located in the Naugatuck Valley region.

The governor’s office said over the next few weeks they will be working very closely with local officials in the Waterbury and Naugatuck areas in an effort to curb an upward trend of infections.

“Not sure why this is happening, but we are paying particularly close attention to it,” said Lamont.

The list of towns, which also includes towns outside the Naugatuck Valley, includes Waterbury, Bethlehem, New Milford, Wolcott, Brookfield, Derby, Union, Seymour, Watertown, Naugatuck, Torrington, Thomaston and Haddam.

Topping the list is Waterbury. The state says they are seeing 69 positive cases per 100,000 people. Responding to the surge, Waterbury officials say they will be expanding hours at its vaccination clinics and are counting on assistance.

“We anticipate additional mobile units and support from the National Guard in terms of staff,” said Mack Demac, chief of staff for Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary.

The state said it is doing contact tracing but at this time it is not clear what is causing the uptick.

In Naugatuck, the mayor is concerned with the high concentration in the area. He said an emphasis remains on getting shots into arms.

“We’re doing 600 or 700 a day. So, we’re focused on vaccines along with the regular precautions,” said Naugatuck Mayor Pete Hess.

In total, there were 13 towns and cities identified as hot spots. In those areas, the governor said additional vaccination efforts will be made.

“Now we’re bringing the vaccination vans, making this a priority right up and down through the valley,” said Lamont.

Both Waterbury and Naugatuck officials said their efforts will be robust as they try to address the developing trend.

“Right now we are in a hotspot and we are going to fight it as hard as we can,” added Hess.

Waterbury is urging anyone who has been exposed to COVID-19 to not leave their homes. They encourage anyone who has been exposed and has basic needs, to instead call 3-1-1, and the city will ensure people have those needs taken care of so they do not need to go out in public.

How to Get an Appointment for a COVID-19 Vaccine in Connecticut

By phone: Call Connecticut’s Vaccine Appointment Assist Line at 877-918-2224, seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for scheduling at select sites.

Online: Schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment in VAMS, the Vaccine Administration Management System.

  1. Fill out the form to let the Department of Public health know you are interested in creating an account in VAMS. If you are currently eligible to receive the vaccine then you should receive an email from VAMS to complete your registration within 12 hours. Click here to create an account.
  2. Check for an email from no-reply@mail.vams.cdc.gov. Click on the link in the email and create your account. You will be prompted to retrieve a code that will be emailed to you. You will need to create a password and store it in a safe place.
    • If you forgot your password, the "forgot password" link on the login page can only be used if you have created a password as part of your VAMS registration.
  3. Complete your VAMS registration.
    • The first question that will be asked in VAMS is “Have you already registered as a vaccine recipient with VAMS?” The answer to this question is “No.”
    • Questions with a red asterisk are mandatory. 
    • Insurance information does not need to be entered.
    • You will be prompted to share some additional information about yourself.
    • In order for VAMS to recognize your option chosen for race, click on your choice in the box on the left and click the right-pointing arrow to move your choice to the box on the right.
  4. Use your zip code to search for clinics near you in VAMS.
    • The system will automatically search for clinics within a 10-mile radius of your zip code, but you may choose up to 100 miles from the dropdown menu, which might provide more clinic locations in your search results.
    • You might need to check multiple clinic locations to find an available appointment. Find a slot that works for you, and book your appointment.
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