NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk has lost another three citizens to COVID-19 and two more schools have switched to remote learning. Mayor Harry Rilling is forming an ad hoc committee to study vaccine distribution.
Connecticut’s daily coronavirus test rate has broken the 8 percent barrier for the first time since mid-May and is pressing dangerously close to 9 percent, Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration reported Tuesday. Rilling’s Tuesday update shows Norwalk with an 8.6 percent positivity rate for the two-week period between Nov. 22 and Dec. 5.
The state enjoyed weekly average infection rates below 1 percent for much of the summer as the worst of the outbreak — recorded in April and the first half of May — steadily retreated in the second half of May and June.
Infection rates began to climb steadily starting in late August, with outbreaks and heavier caseloads in the Danbury area and later in southeastern Connecticut.
Another 18 people died from COVID-19 statewide on Monday, lifting total fatalities since the pandemic began in early March to 5,242.
Rilling reported the local deaths Monday. One of the victims was in his or her 40s, while the others were more than 80 years old, his update indicates.
“I am so sorry to share that we have lost three more residents to COVID-19. My deepest sympathies go out to their families, friends, and loved ones. This virus continues to spread in our community, and now with more than 5,000 cases in Norwalk, virtually all of us know someone who has contracted this virus. Sadly, with 162 deaths, many of us also know of someone who has died from this virus,” Rilling said in a statement.
Nearly half of Norwalk’s schools are closed; Norwalk Public Schools website lists 11 as open and 10 closed. In addition, the Next Steps program is on remote learning, while Project Search is open.
The latest to go remote are Ponus Ridge Middle School and Silvermine Dual Language Magnet School (all students, including Grades 4 and 5 at the annex). It’s expected they will return to in-person learning on Jan. 4. They closed as a result of confirmed COVID cases and the number of staff members quarantined, NPS said.
Rilling, at Tuesday’s Council meeting, said he had spoken to Council President Nick Sacchinelli (D-At Large) “about putting together a task force or an ad hoc team that will work on the logistics for administering the vaccine, once we get clear indication from the state of Connecticut.”
“I want to make sure that we learn from the difficulties that we’re having with regard to administering the COVID-19 tests and the number of people that line up to get the test,” Rilling said.
Sacchinelli will be on the team and any Council member can join, Rilling said. The Health Department will be involved as well as a Board of Education member, Norwalk Chief of Social Services Lamond Daniels and Chief of Staff Laoise King, “so that we can work with our partners, including CVS and other health care providers who will be able to administer the vaccine under the governor’s new executive order that just came out.”
Rilling reported a total 5,118 positive test results Tuesday. There were:
- 88 new positive cases, Sunday
- 85 new positive cases, Monday
- 27 new positive cases, Tuesday
More info from Rilling’s updates:
- Drive-thru COVID-19 testing will be available from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, at Brien McMahon High School, located at 300 Highland Ave., Rilling’s update said. “No appointment, insurance, symptoms, or doctor’s note is required to get tested. This event is open to everyone, not just members of the school community. Visit norwalkct.org/testing for the latest updates.”
- “Free drive-thru COVID-19 testing is available daily 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Veteran’s Park in Norwalk. Testing will not begin until 8:30 a.m. and the public is advised not to line up early as the park does not open until 7:30 a.m. Due to high demand, testing lines may be closed periodically during the day and there may be significant wait times. Cars should not park on neighboring streets as walk-up capacity is limited. Registration forms can be filled out online and printed at chc1.com.”
- “Governor Lamont signed an executive order which authorizes licensed pharmacists to administer any coronavirus vaccine authorized by the Food and Drug Administration. Additionally, the order caps the amount that providers may charge to administer COVID-19 vaccines to help ensure no one is required to pay out-of-pocket costs. More details can be found at ct.gov.”