NORWALK, Conn. — The latest in COVID-19 news:
- Norwalk is in red alert status for a third consecutive week.
- A City Hall employee has tested positive
- West Rocks Middle School has closed
There were 34 new cases reported Thursday and no new deaths.
“The City was notified today that it has remained in red-alert status per the State Department of Health for a third consecutive week,” Mayor Harry Rilling’s evening updates said. “Norwalk is one of 42 communities listed in a red-alert category by DPH, up from 30 communities last week. The alert is based on having more than 15 positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over a two week period.”
A two-week history:
- 53 new cases, Friday, Oct. 23
- 45 new cases, Saturday, Oct. 24
- 37 new cases, Sunday, Oct. 25
- 68 new cases, Monday, Oct. 26
- 30 new cases, Tuesday, Oct. 27
- 29 new cases, Wednesday, Oct. 28
- 54 new cases, Thursday, Oct. 29
- 67 new cases, Friday, Oct. 30
- 47 new cases, Saturday, Oct. 31
- 31 new cases, Sunday, Nov. 1
- 15 new cases, Monday, Nov. 2
- 29 new cases, Tuesday, Nov. 3
- 45 new cases, Wednesday, Nov. 4
- 34 new cases, Thursday, Nov. 5
“Please do not take a one or two day reduction in case numbers as a sign that we are out of the woods from the recent spike. We still have work to do to control this virus,” Rilling is quoted as saying.
The Norwalk Health Department is tracking the daily positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population on a 7- and 14-day average. For the week beginning Oct. 25 and ending on Halloween, the rate was 40.1, the update said. For the two weeks ending on Halloween, the rate was 46.3.
“We were not surprised to remain in the red-alert zone for the third consecutive week, as our positive case numbers continue to be on the rise. What is concerning is that more and more communities are being labeled in the state’s red-alert. We are seeing COVID-19 spread across the state and impact municipalities of all different sizes and demographics,” Rilling is quoted as saying.
The State urges residents to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Free drive-thru COVID-19 testing is available today, Friday Nov. 6, from noon to 4 p.m. at Veteran’s Park; tomorrow from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Stepping Stones Museum; and from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday at Norwalk Community College. No appointment, insurance, symptoms, or doctor’s note is needed to get tested.
“We have expanded testing opportunities to help alleviate the demand in Norwalk, but we still need residents and businesses to do their parts and follow the public health guidelines,” Rilling said. “The three Ws are simple to remember and will help us slow the spread of this virus: wear a face covering, watch your distance, and wash your hands.”
City Hall sickness
“On Tuesday night, City officials were alerted that an employee had tested positive for COVID-19. All employees who may have been in contact with this individual have been notified, and have been asked to quarantine for 14 days,” Rilling’s Wednesday update said.
This is the first reported COVID-19 infection at City Hall, more than seven months into the pandemic. It came as poll workers were going in and out due to the election.
“Officials do not believe this employee had close or prolonged exposure to any members of the public, but out of an abundance of caution, the Tax Collector’s walk-up window outside of City Hall will be closed until further notice,” the update said. “City employees who are quarantined will be working remotely, and will not report back to any City facilities until Monday, November 16.”
Norwalk Communications Manager Josh Morgan would not say Thursday how the infected person is or how many employees are quarantined.
“We will not provide that information in order to protect the person’s privacy. Anyone identified as having been in close contact with the person have been notified and asked to quarantine at home. We have done thorough contact tracing, and do not believe they had prolonged close contact with the public, as was stated in last night’s update,” Morgan wrote.
West Rocks goes remote
Norwalk Public Schools learned Thursday that a member of West Rocks Middle School community has tested positive for COVID-19, NPS Communications Director Brenda Wilcox Williams said.
NPS has warned parents that schools can close without warning.
“Due to the number of staff members now quarantined, we are no longer able to effectively operate the building and have determined it is necessary to transition to full remote learning starting tomorrow,” Wilcox Williams wrote to families. “As a result, West Rocks will change to full remote learning effective immediately and lasting through November 17, 2020. Students and staff may return to in-person learning on November 18, 2020.”
Teachers and staff will also be working remotely, she said.