BY CASSANDRA CORREA
There are currently a total of 68 Connecticut towns that are in the red zone due to an increase of COVID 19 cases.
Two weeks ago, 19 towns were considered red zone towns while there were 30 red zone towns last week. For a town to be in the red zone, it must have 15 or more COVID cases per 100,000 people. These communities have been given the option to go back to Phase 2 of reopening, which would limit the capacity of restaurants to 50%, the opening of theaters, and limit other public venues .
44 towns are orange, meaning that there are 10-14 cases reported per 100,000 people in Connecticut. Canton is currently a yellow town, meaning that there have been 5-9 cases reported per 100,000 people, but many towns surrounding Canton are orange areas. These towns include Avon, Farmington, and Burlington.
Overall, COVID-19 cases have been increasing in Connecticut. Last week, the positivity rate hit 6.1% for Connecticut- numbers have not been that high since June. The towns with higher positivity rates tend to be smaller and on the east side of Connecticut- the highest being Norwalk which has a positivity rate of 8.9% (WNPR.org).
Within a week, Connecticut’s positivity rates have doubled, going from 2.3% to 6.1%.
“It isn’t that surprising to me, but I still think it’s awful,” Shelby Raymond, a senior at Canton High School said.
At the moment, it is unknown why cases are spiking again. The governor of Connecticut, Ned Lamont, and public health advisors do not think that cases are rising because schools are reopening.
“I think cases are rising because people are starting to have gatherings again, whether that be stuff like going out to lunch or just hanging out,” Sophia Edwards, a senior at Canton High School said.
Lamont and public health officials also believe that cases are rising due to small gatherings and events. The events that have been labeled as “not super-spreader events,” which include larger gatherings, are not seen as the “culprit.”
The increase of cases has also led to an increase in hospitalizations, which are “the highest they’ve been in months” and are back to hospitalization levels from June.
According to the Patch, although hospitalizations have increased, there are fewer people in the ICU and there are fewer fatalities. In the spring, 22% of people that were in the ICU for COVID-19 died, now only 6% of people die.
“That shows we have some better therapies and are screening people earlier,” Lamont said.
To slow the spread, Connecticut officials are reminding citizens of the importance of wearing a mask, washing your hands, and keeping social distance. Lamont said that Connecticut residents should also change their holiday plans this year due to the pandemic. Thanksgiving celebrations should not happen this year, as large family crowds could spread COVID-19.
During these times of uncertainty, officials recommend that citizens stay calm.
“Panic is not helpful in this kind of a situation, but action and well-informed strategic action is helpful,” Dr. Deidre Gifford, the Commissioner of Public Health said. “So I think we should all be concerned and then take the appropriate actions.”