Rilling: Drive through testing available in Norwalk, parks may be closed

Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling holds a COVID-19 press conference, recently in City Hall.

NORWALK, Conn. – There are no additional positive COVID-19 tests in Norwalk today, Mayor Harry Rilling announced Thursday evening. Fairfield County positive tests went from 69 to 102.

Rilling’s daily update includes:

  • Norwalk Hospital opens a drive through test site
  • Large gatherings in Norwalk continue, against recommendations; City outdoor facilities may be closed
  • Advice:
    • Get a doctor
    • Keep your kids home


Rilling announced Wednesday that he’d be issuing daily updates, late in the day. On Thursday, he announced:

  • Since yesterday, there are no new positive cases in Norwalk, and the total positive reported cases in Norwalk remains at five. In Fairfield County, the number of new positive cases went from 69 to 102. The age and sex of these individuals will not be released. The public is asked to continue to take precautions as community spread is likely happening across the state.
  • Nuvance Health (Norwalk Hospital) announced a new drive-through collection site in Norwalk for pre-screened people suspected of having COVID-19. The site is located in the parking lot at the intersection of Stevens Street and Elmcrest Terrance. The collection site is only for people who meet necessary criteria, including having a doctor’s order and an appointment. Please do not show up unannounced. More info can be found here.
  • It is imperative for residents without a primary care provider to establish a relationship with a local medical office, as testing for COVID-19 currently requires an approved order by a health professional. With or without insurance, there are local health care options available. More details are located here.
  • Despite public health warnings to maintain social distance to slow the spread of coronavirus, city and school officials continue to receive many reports of gatherings taking place throughout the city, where groups of mostly young people are congregating at fields, playgrounds and public areas to play sports or socialize. Mayor Rilling continues to emphasize the importance of social distancing and avoiding group activities at this time. Without cooperation, public facilities may close.
  • While Mayor Rilling is not ordering the closure of daycare facilities at this time, he strongly encourages those who have children in daycare and telecommuting to keep their children at home. It is critically important daycares remain open to care for the children of first responders, health care workers, and other essential employees, who do not have the flexibility to work remotely.




The Nuvance Health (Norwalk Hospital) testing facility is in the parking lot at the intersection of Stevens Street and Elmcrest Terrance. It’s only for pre-screened people who meet all of following criteria:

  • You called your doctor’s office and had a consultation
  • Based on your symptoms and other information you provided, your doctor determined that you meet criteria for COVID-19 testing, and ordered a test for you
  • You have a scheduled appointment at the collection site


As Rilling states above, more information is available here. His update also refers to closing salons, spas and barbershops, and the postponement of the Connecticut primary. You can read more about that in a story here.

“We continue monitoring this situation closely, and remain in constant contact with local and state officials. We know coronavirus is here in our community, and I fully expect the number of positive cases to rise,” Rilling said. “That is why social distancing is so important. We want to keep our public facilities open for as long as we are able, but that requires everyone’s cooperation. Otherwise, we will strongly consider closing down all parks, playgrounds, fields, and beaches in Norwalk.”

Members of the public are encouraged to sign-up for the City’s CodeRED Emergency Alert Notification System at norwalkct.org/codered. Updates on City services, hours, and community resources will be routinely published at norwalkct.org/citynews. The latest health updates can be found at norwalkct.org/coronavirus.



Ron Morris March 19, 2020 at 9:19 pm


Why have daycares aka pre schools not been closed? This is the most insane thing I have heard yet. Rilling’s claim that they are open for the children that go to them of first responders is an unacceptable excuse. It also makes no sense as elementary schools are closed and I am sure children of first responders attend them. Also how many first responders actually live in Norwalk? Not many.
Daycare aka preschools are breeding grounds for viruses. This will result in huge lawsuits should some child die from this virus due to the negligence of the city and the operator to close the faculties.

People Are Ignorant March 19, 2020 at 9:25 pm

I hope they don’t close the parks. I take my dogs to walk the trails at Cranbury Park every single day. I figure it’s safer to walk the trails there than walk the sidewalks in South Norwalk, but I’m being proven wrong by too many ignorant people. I was appalled at what I witnessed on Wednesday while I was there. I watched people gathering and not maintaining the recommended safe distance of at least six feet. Kids were running around playing, and their parents were paying no attention at all. Just because you feel fine right now, does not mean you do not have the virus and possibly infecting others. I’ve read it can take up to fifteen days to show any symptoms. We need to start treating everyone like they have it at this point, or we’re not going to get this under control, and many more will die.

Concerned Taxpayer March 20, 2020 at 2:42 am

@ Ron

“how many first responders actually live in Norwalk? Not many”

I have a sense that is probably accurate. Be good to know though.

George March 20, 2020 at 5:23 am

Next Lamont and Duff will put tolls up around Norwalk Hospital and Rilling will charge for parking.

Nancy Rosett March 20, 2020 at 6:44 am

I hope the Mayor does not close the parks. Those irresponsible people who are not respecting social distancing will just go somewhere else while closing the parks will punish those of us who are using them responsibly for both our physical and mental health.

And I hope the many people I’ve been seeing enjoying the outdoors will continue to do so once this pandemic has passed.

Diane Lauricella March 20, 2020 at 1:07 pm

Please do not close all the parks until all other methods are explored and implemented, such as:

1. Better Social Distancing Preventive Education/Outreach: Have posters/banners/large signage at all open park entrances and

2. Enforcement: Various staff roaming around parks (they are still getting paid with benefits right?) handing out a way-more detailed explanation about how to avoid contaminating others and why “Social Distancing” helps reduce exposure and civilly asking citizens to separate.

3. Limit hours or rotate which parks are open.

4. Especially reach out to different park patrons like the dog community to ask for their help in advocating/enforcing social distancing,

If those efforts fails, then and only then consider park closings!

I visited Calf Pasture Beach yesterday, Thursday, to celebrate the first day of Spring and it was so beautiful and gave me hope about the future…there were many people taking a walk and sitting in their cars looking out over the Sound. A great opportunity to have trained City staff patrolling/roaming the park to help advocate for proper distancing and giving out hand sanitizer, brochures, etc..

What was confusing was that there was a sign at the Calf Pasture Beach entrance that stated “Park Closed”. This adds to public confusion and possible defiance of reasonable City directives.

Can this be clarified? Thank you in advance.

Anonymous March 21, 2020 at 12:17 am

Why not simply start issuing tickets to those that aren’t complying? And immediately limit all of our beaches and parks to Norwalk residents ONLY. The entire City should not be excluded from at least having some basic access to nature and outdoor space because a handful of obliviously selfish people don’t care enough to comply with social distancing requirements. Let them pay hefty fines if they won’t cooperate.

Mary March 22, 2020 at 1:18 am

I saw some people at the park not demonstrating social distancing (volley ball game) all adults. If my 9 and 11 year old can comprehend, so can they! My family will be devastated if Cranbury closes…

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