After several weeks of COVID-19 case numbers trending downward, public health officials are starting to track an uptick in cases in Norwich again. They are urging people living in the city to remain vigilant.
Norwich was placed under a COVID Alert in the beginning of October. The city experienced its highest two week daily case rate during the weeks of Oct. 4 through Oct. 17 with 40.7 cases. Still under a red alert, cases in the city did trend downward in the last month. For the weeks of Oct. 25 through Nov. 7 the average daily case rate was 18.1.
"It tells me that people are listening," said Mayor Peter Nystrom.
Nystrom credits messaging for the dip in cases over the last month. When the city and health district first detected the spike, residents in the city of Norwich received phone calls and text messages to inform them of places to get tested. The city doubled down on messaging about COVID-19 safety protocols, including mask usage and social distancing.
“I think our community responded very well to the messaging. I think the increase in testing certainly helped," said Patrick McCormack, director of health for Uncas Health District.
While the city's average daily case rate has decreased, McCormack said that new numbers in the last week suggest that case numbers are increasing again.
During the two week period of Oct. 25 through Nov. 7, when the city saw an average daily case rate of 18.1, 99 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the City of Norwich. According to McCormack, in just the last nine days 98 new cases have been reported.
"It is concerning when we see our numbers," said McCormack.
The majority of the people who have tested positive recently are under the age of 60, according to the Uncas Health District.
"Let’s not pretend that we can’t get it, that we can’t test positive. There is something we can do to protect that older population," said McCormack.
Nystrom said that this is not the time for people in the city to relax.
"We have to be more cautious," said Nystrom. "This is not a time to celebrate. This is the time to put into practice the right methods.”
Nystrom said that people in Norwich should be spending Thanksgiving with their immediate family in their households.
McCormack is also encouraging people to follow guidelines for the holiday, suggesting that people connect with family virtually instead of in person gatherings.
"Try to connect in other ways. I think it is extremely important and it will hopefully keep our numbers from surging further," said McCormack.