Facing steep increases in Covid cases, the state recently distributed at-home test kits and N95 masks to help curb the curve. The town received two shipments, which it distributed, one on Tuesday, January 4, the other Saturday, January 8, for a total of about 850 test kits.
Town employees, police and volunteer fire fighters braved the cold temperatures to help make the distribution go smoothly. Residents received the kits at the drive-up to the Center Building, and exited to Center Road. Cars were lined up on Meetinghouse Lane, around the corner up Newton Road all the way to Penny Lane, said Human Services Director Jeanette Glicksman.
Given the limited supply, the first selectman’s office had requested to limit them to those experiencing symptoms or who have been exposed to someone COVID-19 positive.
Betsy Yagla, the administrative assistant officer at the Town Hall, who had helped plan for the distributions, said the town received about 600 test kits, then another 250, and gave some to first responders and to the town’s neediest cases before they handed them out to the general public. Some masks also went to high school staff and Beecher Road School staff, as well as staff at local daycare centers.
Up-to-date Covid-positive numbers for the town were hard to come by, as the state Covid tracker showed Woodbridge at 129 cases per 100,000 residents on New Year’s Day. Some 85 Beecher Road School students reported out sick when they returned to school on January 3, that’s about 10% of the student population.
The high infection rate is in spite of a relatively high vaccination rate. More than 90% of the local population has gotten at least the first shot; while 81% were fully vaccinated as of January 5.
To further curb the spread of infection, First Selectman Beth Heller instituted a mask mandate for the town, which requires people in all indoor public spaces to wear a mask, except when they are eating or drinking.
Town Hall and other municipal buildings are open for business, said Betsy Yagla. Senior Center classes have been canceled until January 17, at which point they will reassess. Senior lunches are available for drive-through or frozen meals for delivery. Transportation to medical appointments is available.
Pictured: First Selectwoman Beth Heller helped distribute Covid test kits to residents on Saturday, January 8
By Bettina Thiel, Woodbridge Town News Correspondent