COVID-19 update: Nine recent deaths, 7,600 total positives

A chart from Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling’s Saturday COVID-19 update.

NORWALK, Conn. — The Norwalk COVID-19 death toll has risen to 191.

Mayor Harry Rilling’s Saturday coronavirus update said four more residents have died due to COVID-19. Rilling reported seven deaths on Jan. 7 and one on Jan. 11. The total positive reported cases is said to be 7,600.

“President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural committee announced that it is hosting a national memorial to remember and honor the lives lost to COVID-19 and is asking cities and towns around the country to participate at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 19. Mayor Rilling encourages the community to join this solemn event by lighting a candle, using a flashlight, or ringing church bells at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday,” the Thursday update said.

The updates show that recent deaths include:

  • One person in his or her 40s
  • Two people in their 50s
  • Two people in their 60s
  • Two people in their 70s
  • Two people who were at least 80 years old


“I am sad to share that we have recently lost four more residents to this virus,” Rilling is quoted as saying Saturday. “My heart aches for their families in their time of grief. While we all look forward to a return to normal, please remember that this virus is still here and still causing devastation. While some may not feel the effects of COVID-19, others will get very sick, and some will unfortunately die.”



The Norwalk Health Department has vaccinated 714 people, Rilling reported Friday, calling that 99 percent of the doses allocated by the State to the department. “This is a fraction of the number of total residents vaccinated thus far. The Norwalk Health Department, Norwalk Hospital, and community health care providers are distributing vaccines,” the update said.

You can also get vaccinated in another town. Sign up through the Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS).

“We have started a vaccine ad hoc committee, which is going to be focusing on two elements,” Rilling said at Tuesday’s Council meeting.

Number one, the Committee will seek to make sure the necessary resources are in place for vaccines to be administered “with efficiency and effectively,” in “comfortable, large enough” locations, accessible to “the most number of people,” he said.

Second, “We want to make sure that we put out accurate information for the vaccine to the public, for several reasons,” he said. “Number one, is so that they can make an informed decision as to whether or not they want to receive the vaccine. We also want to make sure that they know how to go about registering.”

Vaccines are currently only available to people eligible under Phase 1a or who are age 75 or older. Next on the list are people ages 65 to 74 and those 16 to 64 with co-morbidities such as cancer or chronic kidney disease.

“It is great news that the list of those eligible to receive the vaccine continues to grow in Phase 1B. The vaccine will help us beat this virus. The discouraging news is the state estimates 1.3 million residents are eligible in Phase 1B, yet the state is receiving just 46,000 doses of the vaccine weekly from the federal government currently,” Rilling is quoted as saying in Thursday’s update. “At this rate, it will take us many months to inoculate the public. I ask residents to remain patient, and be hopeful, that production and allocation will rapidly increase soon.”

Information on the vaccine is available on the City’s website.  You’re also warned of potential scams related to the vaccine. “{N}o vaccine distribution site will ever ask for payment for early access, social security numbers, or any bank information. For more details, visit ct.gov,” the Tuesday update states.


Stark statistics

Norwalk is still in the State’s red alert status, for the 13th consecutive week. The alert is based on having more than 15 positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period, and there are 166 communities listed by the State Department of Health in the category.

Recent statistics:

  • For the one week between Jan. 3 and 9, the rate was 93 positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, according to the Friday update. For the two weeks between Dec. 27 and Jan. 9, the rate was 82.4 per 100,000.
  • The one-week period between Dec. 27 and Jan. 2 was reported on Jan. 8 as 71.7 per 100,000 residents. The two weeks between Dec. 20 and Jan. 2 was 62.6.
  • The test positivity rate from Dec. 27 to Jan. 3 was 10.7 percent, according to the Friday update.


“The virus continues to spread through our community as our test positivity rate is now over 10 percent. I wish there was a single cause for this transmission, but unfortunately, there is not one sole reason,” Rilling is quoted as saying Friday. “We continue to hear reports of small gatherings and parties at private homes. I ask residents to not let down their guard – even with their loved ones. We all have to strictly follow the guidelines: wear a mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands.”


Some recent update announcements

  • The Norwalk Partnership is asking residents to take a survey to find out about mental health and substance use in Norwalk, how COVID-19 has impacted residents, and what the needs are of adults and teens. Those who complete the survey will be eligible to win a $25 gift card. The survey is available in English, Spanish, or Haitian Creole. For more information or to complete the survey, visit thenorwalkpartnership.org.”
  • Free meals for Norwalk children are said to be available at nine sites around Norwalk from noon to 2 p.m., with three sites open additional hours from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. “Meals are available for all Norwalk children ages 2-18 and they do not have to attend Norwalk Public Schools to receive meals. Meals are available for students whether they are in-person or distancing learning, and multiple meals are available on Fridays for children over the weekends. For a full list of locations visit norwalkps.org.”
  • You’re spending more time indoors so it might be a good idea to test your home for radon gas. The Norwalk Health Department is said to have testing kits available for residents at no cost.
  • Eversource has scheduled a Town Hall to discuss energy and financial assistance programs available to Norwalk residents at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21. No preregistration is required. Information on how to watch on Zoom or call in by phone can be found at norwalkct.org/meetings.
  • For families in need of rental assistance & energy assistance, Alliance for Community Empowerment, Inc. can help obtain necessary services for those in need. For more information, call (203) 838-8110 or visit alliancect.org.”
  • Connecticut Food Bank and Foodshare are said to have launched new drive-thru meal distribution sites around Connecticut, with one weekly location in Norwalk. On each Wednesday until further notice, volunteers will be distributing food, no questions asked, from Calf Pasture Beach. The contactless drive-thru mobile food pantry will follow all COVID-19 protocols and run from 9 a.m. to noon each Wednesday. The parking area at Calf Pasture Beach will remain closed to the public until 1 p.m. each Wednesday, and residents will be directed to the Shady Beach parking area. For more details, visit foodshare.org.


“Volunteers have always served a critical role in helping the community,” Rilling is quoted as saying. “With a weekly food distribution event that can serve up to 1,500 vehicles, we can use the extra volunteer support to help ensure the event goes smoothly and efficiently. I encourage those who are able to consider signing up to help our community during these difficult times.”


And some reminders

  • “Due to COVID-19, Norwalk taxpayers have an extended grace period for tax payments. The last day to pay the second installment of Norwalk taxes is April 1, 2021. Tax bills were printed and mailed before the City was given authorization by the State of Connecticut to extend the payment deadline, therefore the due date on the bills is listed as February 1. Payments received or postmarked April 2 and later will incur interest at the rate of 6 percent, as interest reverts back to January 1 per state law. For more information, visit norwalkct.org/taxcollector.”
  • “Free drive-thru COVID-19 testing is available daily 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Veteran’s Park and Norwalk Community College. 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. Anyone seeking a COVID-19 test is advised to pre-register online at chc1.com.”
  • “City Hall will be closed on Monday, January 18, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. City garbage and recycling services will remain on normal schedule. For complete details, visit norwalkct.org.”


Connecticut Mirror reporter Jenna Carlesso contributed to this story.

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