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Holidays See Sharp Increase In Local Virus Infections

Holidays See Sharp Increase In Local Virus Infections

Coronavirus infections spiked in this area over the holidays, according to the state’s Covid-19 data tracker.  The website, which tracks the average daily number of cases over two weeks, showed cases almost doubling in all three Amity towns, Bethany, Orange and Woodbridge, in the period from December 20 to January 2.  In Woodbridge, the number of cases increased from 17 to 30, in Orange from 44 to 73 and in Bethany from 15 to 26.

From December 1 to January 7 Woodbridge has seen 46 new cases, said Police Chief Frank Cappiello.  Only 2-3 of those occurred at extended care facilities and nursing homes, he said.  That is a very different picture from when the virus was first spreading here last spring.

“At the onset, the majority of positive cases and deaths were associated with residents and patients at our three nursing homes and extended care/assisted living facilities in town,” Cappiello said.  “But over the past several months, the majority of the cases are from private residences, involving residents of all ages – from children to adults.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Woodbridge has logged 245 positive cases, Chief Cappiello said, and 34 deaths, although no deaths were reported since May 2020.

Woodbridge

  • Week 1 Cases:  17
  • Week 2 Cases:  30
  • Rate Per 100,000:  38.1
  • Report Period:  12/20/20 – 01/02/21
  • Date Updated:  01/07/21

Orange

  • Week 1 Cases:  44
  • Week 2 Cases:  73
  • Rate Per 100,000:  59.9
  • Report Period:  12/20/20 – 01/02/21
  • Date Updated:  01/07/21

Bethany

  • Week 1 Cases:  15
  • Week 2 Cases:  26
  • Rate Per 100,000:  53.5
  • Report Period:  12/20/20 – 01/02/21
  • Date Updated:  01/07/21

Testing This Weekend

In the meantime, the town continues to offer monthly testing services, especially for asymptomatic individuals.  The next opportunity is Sunday, January 17 and again February 14 (Valentine’s Day) from 1:30-4:30 at Center Building Gym, 4 Meetinghouse Lane.  Those who have been exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms, are asked to call their doctor for an appointment to get a test.

People will need to park and walk into the building.  The line will start outside, go down the hallway and wind through the gym with people exiting through the gym’s side door.  Everybody is strongly encouraged to wear a mask.  The PCR test is administered through a company called Sema4.  “Our goal is 24-48hr TAT (turn- around-time).  However, in a few instances that has become 48-72 hours.

A release on the town’s website recommends that those for whom these dates/times do not work to check the state’s 211 Testing Locator to find a test site.

Griffin Hospital in Derby offers Saturday testing times.  Call 203-437-6815 to make an appointment and use the word “community” so you will not need a doctor’s note for a test appointment.

In New Haven the Fair Haven Community Health Clinic is operating daily testing at 293 East Street.  No doctor’s note is required.  They are doing walk-ups and taking appointments.  Call 203-871-4179.

Policing During The Pandemic

Chief Cappiello said the Police Department has seen its share of COVID positive cases in addition to employees having to quarantine due to exposure and potential exposures amongst officers and dispatchers.  “Despite these staggered Covid-19 related absences and the associated scheduling challenges they create, especially for a smaller sized agency like ours, we have been able to continue with the fluent and uninterrupted delivery of police operations and services,” he said.

Criminal and traffic related activity for the year was directly impacted by, and correlates with, the Coronavirus pandemic and trends seen state-wide.  Thus, the police activity log up to November 30 shows the number of activated alarms much lower than the year before (489; 712 in the same period the year before), probably because people stayed home.  But the number of burglaries was up (18 vs 9 the year before).  With fewer vehicles on the road, traffic stops decreased to 407 from 2,389 the year before.  And while police logged fewer traffic accidents overall, the number of accidents with injuries actually increased (44 vs 34 the year before).

Mental health (35) and other medical calls (333) were fewer than during the prior year (37 and 534, respectively), but police were called to deceased persons 16 times (9 the year before).

While the calls to intervene in verbal disputes were down (15 vs. 24 the year before) the number of family disputes was up a tad (18 vs. 17).

Police logged a significant increase in criminal mischief incidents (60 vs. 29 the year before) and stolen vehicles (18 vs. 9 in 2019).

Another number that stuck out in the report was the number of fingerprints, which was down to 136 (from 266), but fingerprints for the purpose of obtaining a pistol permit were up (94 from 29 the year before).

With vaccinations underway, there is hope the nation will be able to put the restrictions behind it in a few months.  Woodbridge first responders have been getting their first doses of the COVID vaccine in late December, with no significant adverse reactions reported, according to Chief Cappiello.  The other department employees, including dispatchers, were expected to receive their first doses this week.

Teachers To Be Vaccinated

Woodbridge School Supt. Dr. Jonathan Budd said latest plans were for Beecher teachers to be vaccinated by mid-February.  Plans are for the vaccination to occur at the school.

By Bettina Thiel – Woodbridge Town News Correspondent

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