As of Friday, March 27, West Hartford has 9 active cases of COVID-19, and Mayor Shari Cantor is urging residents to heed warnings to stay home, to flatten the curve.
By Ronni Newton
Three weeks after the first positive case of COVID-19 was reported in the state, the number of infections continues to rise rapidly, with Gov. Ned Lamont reporting during a briefing Friday afternoon that there are now 1,291 laboratory-confirmed cases in the state.
West Hartford’s first case was confirmed exactly a week ago, and as of Friday the total number has risen to nine. According to Aimee Krauss, acting director of the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District, the ages of those who have just received positive test results ranges from 30 to 70.
In Hartford County as a whole there are 189 cases; 36 of those patients are hospitalized and there have been two deaths in the county. Statewide, 173 patients are hospitalized and the total reported deaths rose by six Friday, to 27.
West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor shared a message with the community Friday evening, using the Everbridge system, urging people to stay home to avoid getting sick themselves and to avoid community spread.
“We must stay home to avoid getting sick and putting our friends, family and community at risk,” Cantor said in her message. “It is also important that we do this to avoid community spread of COVID-19 and a surge in cases that could overwhelm our first responders and health care workers.”
The governor said in his daily briefing that although the percentage of positive results compared to the number of tests (279 out of 1,900 test results reported) was lower, the total number of cases was the biggest jump seen.
With 173 hospitalizations, “that’s the beginning of the surge,” Lamont said. Those who are over age 80 are 10 times more likely to be hospitalized, he added.
Younger people, however, are just as likely to become infected, and can infect other people.
“When it comes to infection, this is a virus that doesn’t discriminate by age,” said Connecticut’s chief operating officer, Josh Geballe, at Friday’s briefing. The different in the rate of hospitalization, however, is striking, he added.
“Please stay at home,” Lamont said. “It’s for your safety, it’s for our safety.”
Jeffrey Flaks, the CEO and president of Hartford Healthcare, said Friday that he expects the peak of the disease to hit in the second week of April, and although modeling looks at three different scenarios, planning is for the most severe possibility.
In Executive Order No. 7N, issued Thursday, Lamont has restricted social gatherings to no more than five people, and in her message Friday, Cantor reiterated that limitation, urging residents to avoid congregating in town parks, the MDC reservoirs, or other areas.
Earlier this week the town officially closed the playscapes and basketball courts at municipal and school playgrounds. Pieces of wood were placed across the basketball rims to prevent their use, but after many of them were removed by those failing to comply with the closure, the town has had to resort to removing the rims entirely.
In her message, the entirety of which is provided below, Cantor urged the community to be “diligent, strong and patient. I know that West Hartford is very capable of meeting this challenge. Please stay safe, and be well.”
Text of Everbridge message:
Hi, this is Mayor Shari Cantor
I am calling you tonight with an important update from the Town of West Hartford.
Today I urge you to stay home, and stay safe. We now have many confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our region and new cases in our town. We must stay home to avoid getting sick and putting our friends, family and community at risk. It is also important that we do this to avoid community spread of COVID-19 and a surge in cases that could overwhelm our first responders and health care workers.
I encourage you to do the following:
- Please work from home if at all possible.
- Please do not congregate in public, including at our town parks, MDC reservoirs and other open areas. The Governor has recently limited social and recreational gatherings to no more than 5 people. We have had to close our playgrounds and basketball courts because of potential contamination from high-touch surfaces and the volume of people who were congregating. Our parks, trails, tennis and pickle ball courts are open but we are closely monitoring them. There are signs marking areas that are off limits. Removing or tampering with these signs is a criminal offense, and our police are actively investigating some instances of this.
- Please do not schedule playdates and sleepovers for your children; instead have friends visit virtually. Supervise teenagers to ensure they are not going to parties or to places where there are crowds.
- When you visit the grocery store, bring wipes to clean the shopping cart handrail, and use plastic bags to pick up produce. Maintain a distance of two cart lengths away from others. When you get home, wipe down what you buy, wash your produce, and wash your hands for 20 seconds.
- Please remember and support our local businesses, arts and culture institutions, non- profits and so many wonderful restaurants throughout our town. Reach out, contribute, donate, purchase gift cards and get take out via credit card so pick up is easy and safe.
Our virtual town hall is open to serve you. Please call 860-561-6990 or text to 860-935-2838, Monday through Friday, 9:00AM to 5:00 PM for assistance or visit us at www.westhartfordct.gov.
I realize that these are uncertain times and stressful for all of us. Now, more than ever, we have to focus on stopping the spread of COVID-19 by staying home. Do this for your family, friends, coworkers and neighbors, and for our first responders and health care workers. We need to be diligent, strong and patient. I know that West Hartford is very capable of meeting this challenge. Please stay safe, and be well. Thank you for listening.
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