New Haven Monitoring COVID-19 Cases, Making Policy Changes

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New Haven Health Director Maritza Bond says they’re continuing to watch the city’s COVID-19 cases closely after a spike in the last two weeks.

On two back to back days, there were a total of 15 cases reported, bringing the two-week total during that time frame to 31.

During the city’s COVID-19 update call, Bond offered a reminder.

“It's important especially now that we're in the summer months, that when people are doing outdoor activities or private events, that they're really mindful that we are still in a pandemic,” said Bond.

Of those 31 cases, 39% were people between 30 and 39. The overall average age for COVID-19 cases is 46.

Among younger age groups, 19% were between 20-29. As students in this age group plan to return to four colleges in the New Haven area, Bond says they’re preparing as well.

“We did a webinar with all of the colleges and surrounding colleges, and we've also been working with the local landlords that rent to these individuals and provided some updates regarding enforcements, and the support we expect from the landlords,” said Bond.

A concentration of cases continues in Fair Haven, where Bond says they’ve increased messaging on testing, still available at Fair Haven Health.

Tests are also on the New Haven Green on Wednesdays, and at the Chapel and Day Street site on Thursdays.

Yale New Haven Health will soon start tests at the former Strong School after closing the Long Wharf site. They will also have two other locations:  

One in the Walgreen's parking at 1471 Whalley Avenue in the Amity area, Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and at the Ross Woodward School Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Maoy Justin Elicker also clarified recent changes to the Lighthouse Point Park. Last week it was announced only New Haven residents could walk into the park, while only 225 Connecticut residents could drive-in.

Wednesday Elicker said all Connecticut residents could walk or drive-in to the park, saying there’s a history of exclusivity in cities by restricting public beaches to residents only, and he doesn’t want to issue a policy that could be discriminatory. He added there’s legal precedence for these types of policies.

“Currently there is no health reason for us to prohibit other Connecticut residents from coming to our beaches,” said Elicker. “Therefore, we're not going to have a policy that excludes other Connecticut residents from using our beaches.”

The city is also changing to its street sweeping policies at a time when finances may be challenging for some residents. They’re no longer both ticketing and towing cars in violation. Instead, tickets will go from $50 to $100, and they’ll eliminate towing, which typically incurred an $89 fee, plus storage costs.

In a press release, the city estimates residents have paid approximately $2 million annually to towing companies. They say that broke down to $540,000 in towing fees and $1.5 million in storage fees.

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