Danbury Residents Urged to Take Precautions Amid COVID-19 Spike

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The city of Danbury will start the school year online amid an uptick in COVID-19 cases, the fields are closed in an effort to stop the spread of the virus and the mayor said the boat launch will also be closed.

"We're doing these things because we want to make sure that we protect our residents," Boughton said.

City officials said they are seeing a spread of the virus among small family gatherings and Boughton said one of the deepest concerns is that some of the spread is among children.

"We want to make sure that we can slow the spread and we really only have about a week and a half to do that. Once a week and half goes by, if you haven't taken the right steps, if you haven't done the right things, it can become a runaway freight train," Boughton said.

If you haven't taken the right steps, if you haven't done the right things, it can become a runaway freight train

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton

While the state has around a 1-percent positive rate, City of Danbury Acting Health Director Kara Prunty said the city has a rolling average of around 22 cases per 100,000 and she urged people to get tested, stay home and quarantine and work with contact tracers to contain the spread.

"We are seeing a lot of spread among small family gatherings. We're trying to ask people to stay socially distanced if they are going to have a family gathering and to limit the amount of togetherness that we have," Prunty said.

She asked anyone who is feeling ill to stay home and to isolate from family members as much as possible.

Last week, the state Department of Public Health issued a COVID-19 alert for the city of Danbury due to a spike in cases.

"We've come in hard with testing, in particular, testing and track and trace," Lamont said.

He addressed the time it takes to get test results back and said they are prioritizing Danbury for getting results back.

The superintendent of schools in danbury announced Tuesday that the school year will start with all distance learning because of the spike.

Boughton said the hope is that the schools will later move to a hybrid model, followed by full school.

The governor, who wants to get the schools open, said he thinks Danbury is doing the right thing by holding off on in-person learning.

"When you have to change course, public health comes first. That's what we're doing in Danbury," Lamont said.

In addressing how the virus is being spread, Boughton said the virus seems to be spread through travel, in some places of worship that are are meeting in person as well as on the athletic fields, in which people are close together and not wearing a mask, then the virus can spread among families.

"It's still there and we've got to be diligent," Boughton said.

The governor also mentioned an issue with parties, including Candlewood Lake, and Lamont said the boat launch is closed.

"You almost had the Uber of boats going back and forth to the island and maybe 100-plus kids out there and again, we've seen a higher infection rate among young people," Lamont said.

The governor said they are going to be holding people responsible and he does not want to see big parties.

Boughton urged people to get tested and said there is no cost and residents do not need to have symptoms to get a test. The governor said Danbury will be prioritized to get test results.

Danbury sustained extended power outages during Tropical Storm Isaias and State Rep. David Arconti, who is a member of the energy technology committee, said there has been an uptick in cases in neighborhoods where the power was out for longer times.

:There is a noticeable uptick in infections within neighborhoods within parts of our city that were without power for the longest -- the areas of downtown in particular that were out of power for seven-plus days," Arconti said.

Boughton said you can see on the map the spread in areas where power was out for awhile.

Lamont said a lot of outages in Danbury were in congested neighborhoods with multi-generational housing and people might have been getting together for air conditioning.

In addition to the public schools, Western Connecticut State University had to change its plan to move students on campus because of the cases in Danbury.

Students at Western Connecticut State University were also told they will not be allowed to return to university residence halls for at least two weeks.

Danbury announced on Monday that its students will begin the school year remotely because the city has seen a recent uptick in coronavirus cases.
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