The City of Waterbury is urging residents to get tested for COVID-19, even if they’re not showing symptoms, as they experience an increase in cases over the last week.
“Someone who doesn’t have symptoms seems to be our biggest problem right now. And I think what’s happening is that 60 that you saw is offshoots from our asymptomatic folks and maybe exposure to them,” said Adam Rinko, Waterbury’s Emergency Management Director.
Through contact tracing, Rinko said they've found most people are contracting COVID-19 through family members they live with. He's encouraging everyone, especially Black and Hispanic residents to get tested more frequently.
The city is offering two free testing sites where no prescription is necessary:
- Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Brass City Mall on Union Street (Old Sear's Auto Center)
- Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Police Activity League on Division Street
Over the last week, 79 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Waterbury. City officials said that is significant. In April, the highest they experienced in the city was 110 positive cases one week, while the lowest number of positive cases was in July and August, where they averaged about eight.
“We’re looking at five, six times what we were looking at in August so it’s a significant impact, more so one of the bigger things our testing facilities are reporting much more use,” said Rinko.
Waterbury City Hall will be restricting access as well as the Chase Municipal Building, where the Registrar of Voters and Waterbury Public Schools is located, the Jefferson Square Office Building and the Water Department and Pollution Control.
You'll need to make an appointment before you enter city buildings and the mayor is urging people to do any city-related business over the phone.
Right now, the Mayor's Office is also closed because one of his aides tested positive for COVID-19. The mayor has received two COVID-19 tests and both have come back negative, according to Rinko.
The police chief also tested positive and the public information officer said his spirits are high and he continues to engage with his command staff.