NORWALK, Conn. — Roton Middle School has joined the list of Norwalk schools on remote learning, and the City is preparing to begin vaccinating “critical workforce” in late December or early January.
There has been another death due to COVID-19, bringing the Norwalk total to 156. The victim was more than 80 years old.
Norwalk’s daily positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population was 35.8 for the week between Nov. 22 and 28, and for the two weeks between Nov. 15 and 28 it was 52.5. The test positivity rate from Nov. 15 and 28 was 8.5 percent.
Since Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving, there have been 309 new COVID-19 cases.
The City did not receive many complaints or notice many violations over the holiday weekend, Mayor Harry Rilling said, calling that encouraging.
“Unfortunately, this virus continues to spread, with virtually the entire state in the red-alert zone. Following the guidelines, limiting gatherings, socially distancing, and mask wearing, will help us slow this virus down,” Rilling said in a statement.
The Common Council met Monday to approve an agreement with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to allow the Norwalk Department of Health to administer vaccinations for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
“This specifies the terms and conditions upon which we can distribute the vaccine to the general public,” Assistant Corporation Counsel Darin Callahan said.
Norwalk expects to receive the Moderna vaccine, which doesn’t require the intense cold needed by the Pfizer vaccine, Norwalk Director of Health Deanna D’Amore said.
“We know there’s going to be a phased in approach for vaccination once we do have vaccines approved. And health departments, local health departments are tasked with vaccinating the critical workforce,” D’Amore said.
The health department is preparing to vaccinate police officers, firefighters and EMTs, and is collecting information on school personnel, she said. “Health care providers and workers are also one of the populations we believe is going to be the priority and that’ll be handled, you know, by a different sector.”
Norwalk’s health department is prepared to vaccinate because it already administers flu shots, childhood vaccinations and vaccines for travelers, and has the experience and infrastructure to deal with two-shot vaccinations, D’Amore said.
“We’re ready to step up and, you know, provide this for our community,” she said. But, “There’s not this expectation that the health department is going to vaccinate the entire population, there are going to be several different providers in Norwalk that are going to be providing vaccination.”
She expects to get about 100 doses at a time, at the start.
She said, “We’re thinking that approval could be given mid-December for the vaccines and then states could start receiving it like in December, and not sure when exactly we would receive it, but we’re looking at end of December-January.”
About 50 of the department’s emergency response team volunteers have signed up to help administer the vaccine, she said.
Seven of Norwalk’s 22 school facilities are closed due to COVID-19, as Roton Middle School students and staff are moving to full remote learning Thursday.
Roton will be reopen Dec. 14. As is the case of all the school closures, Norwalk Public Schools said that it doesn’t have enough staff members to effectively operate the building due to the number of employees quarantined following a confirmed case.
Closed, according to the NPS website, are:
- Brien McMahon High School – reopening expected Dec. 14
- Center for Global Studies– reopening expected Dec. 14
- Norwalk High School – reopening expected Dec. 14
- P-Tech (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) – reopening expected Dec. 14
- Nathan Hale Middle School – reopening expected Dec. 7
- Roton Middle School – reopening expected Dec. 14
- Marvin Elementary – reopening expected Dec. 4
“I understand the last thing families want to see is a late-night email about a COVID-19 exposure and a school moving to remote learning,” Rilling said in a statement. “Please know these cautious measures are in place to try to keep people healthy. I appreciate the efforts from Norwalk Public Schools to keep students and staff safe.”