Cheshire has reached an unfortunate milestone in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. On Thursday, Nov. 12, the Town sent out an emergency text message to Cheshire residents warning them that Cheshire is now considered a “red zone” regarding COVID-19 cases.
While this was expected given the rise in COVID-19 cases across the country, Chesprocott’s Health Director Maura Esposito is still concerned about the rising number of cases in the community, and how residents might spend the upcoming fall and winter months.
“As you all know, Cheshire is not in an isolation from the rest of the world. We’ve been seeing that Cheshire has been surrounded by a sea of ‘red’ towns in the alert system map …” she explained at the Nov. 10 Town Council meeting.
According to the State of Connecticut daily COVID-19 reporting website, towns in “gray zones” have fewer than five cases per every 100,000 residents; towns in “yellow zones” are reporting between five and nine cases per every 100,000 residents; towns in “orange zones” are reporting between 10 and 14 cases per every 100,000 residents; and towns in red zones are reporting more than 15 cases per every 100,00 residents.
“From November 1st to the 9th, we’ve had 51 cases of COVID-19 … looking at the numbers, our highest numbers are between 20- and 29-year-olds, where we’ve had 11 cases. (In the) 30-39 (age range) we’ve had 10 cases, and (ages) 50-59 we’ve had nine cases.” she continued.
According to Eposito’s data, the town is on track to exceed the number of cases that were present at the onset of the virus back in March.
“I will say that people are testing more, so we are seeing a lot more cases than last time, because we didn’t have those (resources) in the spring. … Cheshire has been doing very well compared to my other two towns [Prospect and Wolcott],” she said. “The Cheshire restaurants have been doing really great — we’ve had a few referrals coming in with complaints about social distancing, but we’re pretty much addressing those within one or two days. Our salons have had very minimal exposures, and our salon people have been catching things very quickly.”
Esposito went on to explain that they did have to quarantine two local daycare centers, with one center reporting that a child tested positive while the other had a staff member test positive. Esposito also talked about a local group home that has been placed into lockdown to help stop the spread of the virus.
“In general, when we interview these cases right now, we are finding that there have been a lot of Halloween gatherings,” she reported. “A lot of 18- to 25-year-olds are becoming positive. They’re hanging out, going out of town, they’re still going to bars and hanging out in Waterbury and coming back. We are also starting to see an increase in our healthcare workers, which has us very nervous.”
Esposito warned the Town Council that she believes residents have gotten “a little loose” with protecting themselves from the virus, and unfortunately the Town is bearing the brunt of that. Esposito then mentioned that her team at Chesprocott is working closely with the Elim Park Senior Living Community, which had a positive case crop up among their nursing staff on the independent living side of the facility.
Esposito also commented on the number of cases that have been seen in the Cheshire School District, which she describes as “sporadic and busy.” She mentioned that the cases in the District involve both staff and students, but what she is noticing an increase in cases spread amongst family members. Students then carry the virus into school with them.
“Please be vigilant. If you are going into stores, keep in mind that there might be someone working there who is probably positive. Keep your masks on, use your sanitizer, keep as far as six feet distance, or as far as possible, to keep yourself safe,” she warned.