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Mexico’s consulate general aids in Norwalk’s COVID-19 fight

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered Saturday at Cornerstone Community Church on West Avenue. (City of Norwalk)

Consul General Jorge Islas López speaks Saturday at Cornerstone Community Church on West Avenue. (City of Norwalk)

NORWALK, Conn. — The Consulate General of Mexico came to Norwalk to help get local citizens vaccinated.

About 50 doses were administered at the special COVID-19 clinic held Saturday by the City, Consulate General of Mexico in New York, Norwalk Community Health Center, and Cornerstone Community Church, a City press release said. Since Friday, there were 23 new positive cases reported in Norwalk, bringing the total to 11,416. There have been no deaths reported since April 27.

As of Wednesday, more than 53% of Norwalk residents had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccination, including more than 48% of residents 15-44 years of age; more than 73% of residents 45-64 years of age; and 99% of residents 65 years of age and older, the City reported. Gov. Ned Lamont announced Saturday that more than 70% of all adults in the state received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Connecticut is among the first states to reach this benchmark.

The Norwalk Community Health Center provided the vaccines and staffing to conduct Saturday’s clinic, and has committed to returning in 28 days to provide the second dose of the Moderna vaccine, the press release said. “Together, the partnership helped reach more residents who had previously been hesitant to get vaccinated, or found other vaccine clinics inaccessible due to location or hours of operation.”

“In recent months, our Consulate General, in collaboration with political authorities, health centers and community organizations, has carried out vaccination clinics at our headquarters in Manhattan. However, in order to bring the vaccine closer to Mexican nationals residing outside of the City of New York, we continue to expand our efforts to implement mobile vaccination centers around the tri-state area; an initiative that I celebrate deeply and that, I am sure, we will be repeating in the near future through our Consulates on Wheels and thanks to the continuous support of state authorities and community squares (plazas comunitarias),” said Consul General Jorge Islas López in the release.

“These types of special clinics with our community partners and respected voices are a proven way to get more residents vaccinated,” Mayor Harry Rilling said in the release.

Cornerstone Community Church, at 718 West Ave., “provided a welcoming space that many in the community were familiar with and comfortable attending,” the press release said. “The location was chosen specifically for its connection to the Hispanic community, and the ongoing outreach and advocacy efforts undertaken by Cornerstone Church.”

“We are an inclusive and affirming congregation who stands for Justice and Equity for all, especially the residents of Norwalk,” said Cornerstone Community Church Pastor Elizabeth Abel in the release. “Connecticut is leading the country in vaccines because of the work of local Departments of Health and Community Health Centers. Today was an example of how we are getting it done by partnering with the trusted community resources and serving the needs of all our community members.”

Last week, Connecticut became the first state to vaccinate half of its adults against COVID-19.

Mayor Harry Rilling speaks Saturday at Cornerstone Community Church on West Avenue. (City of Norwalk)

“It was a great privilege to meet Consul General Jorge Islas, and I am incredibly appreciative to the Consulate General, Norwalk Community Health Center, and Cornerstone Community Church in helping us get Norwalkers vaccinated,” Rilling said in the release.

More than 200 Norwalk citizen deaths have been attributed to COVID-19. Rilling’s daily update had the total at 222 on April 23 and then announced two more deaths on April 27, without a total given.

Between March 17 and April 27 there were 16 deaths.

The Mayor’s Office announced Monday that this would be the last week of Monday-Friday COVID-19 updates. The updates will switch to a weekly format, with a “more comprehensive” bulletin issued on Fridays.

“We are changing the briefing format to provide a more in-depth analysis on what is happening in Norwalk and around the state. I think residents will truly appreciate what we provide each week. The change to the briefing schedule does not mean we are declaring victory against COVID-19. We must remain vigilant in the fight against this virus,” Rilling is quoted as saying.

Some information from recent updates:

  • Drive-thru COVID-19 testing is available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Veteran’s Park, except that you can’t get it before noon on Wednesdays. Testing occurs on the East Side of the park, with entrance and exit off Seaview Avenue.
  • Testing remains available 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Norwalk Community College seven days a week. Anyone seeking a COVID-19 test is advised to register online at chc1.com.
  • Additional drive-thru COVID-19 testing will be available today, Tuesday May 11, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Brien McMahon High School, located at 300 Highland Ave. Visit norwalkct.org/testing for more details.
  • The Norwalk Health Department is holding a COVID-19 vaccine clinic from 2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Bow Tie Cinemas, located at 64 N. Main St. Free parking is available and no appointment is necessary. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available. The clinic is open to anyone over 18 years of age. Walk ups welcome and no insurance is required.
  • A FEMA Mobile Vaccination Unit (MVU) is coming to Norwalk for an outdoor pop-up clinic on at the Webster Street Parking Lot in South Norwalk later this week: from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available. No appointment is necessary. Connecticut opened the country’s first FEMA Mobile Vaccination Unit (MVU) on March 29, in an effort to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to communities and people in socially vulnerable areas.
  • Wheels2U, the micro-transit shuttle service in Norwalk, resumed operations Thursday after suspending them because of the pandemic in December. More information is available here.
  • The City remains in red-alert status per the State Department of Health. Norwalk is one of 55 communities listed in a red-alert category by DPH, down from 97 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. More details can be found at ct.gov.
  • As of Friday, there were 2,914 total cases across 13 COVID-19 variants in Connecticut. The majority of cases, 1,849 cases in total, are the B.1.1.7 variant which was first detected in the United Kingdom. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled five of the variants as a “concern” and eight of the variants as of “interest.” On Wednesday, the CDC added four variants originally detected in India to the list of variants of interest. These variants are more transmissible, and residents are reminded to wear their masks, watch their distance, and wash their hands. For more details on the COVID-19 variants in Connecticut, visit ct.gov.

 

“The combination of more people getting vaccinated, consistent following of public health guidelines, and warmer weather, has us firmly trending in the right direction. We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Over the last week, our two week daily average case rate went from 24.5 to 16.2 and our test positivity rate went from 5% to 3.7%. These are great signs,” Rilling was quoted as saying Thursday. “We have more than 53% of our residents vaccinated, and we will continue working to see that number grow. We have new partnerships forming, are expanding community outreach, and scheduling clinics at convenient hours. We can all do our part to beat COVID-19, and getting vaccinated is an important step to winning this fight.”

Patients register Saturday at Cornerstone Community Church on West Avenue. (City of Norwalk)

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