As Westport tracks large exposure, 3rd CT coronavirus case confirmed
Connecticut’s third COVID-19 case, confirmed Wednesday involving a New Canaan man, marked the likely start of “community transfer” on the same day that Westport officials tracked an apparent mass exposure stemming from a recent party.
The Westport exposure led the Board of Education to immediately close the schools until further notice. At least one person at the party, who has since left the United States, contracted the disease and more than a dozen attendees are now suffering flu-like symptoms.
Mark Cooper, director of health for Westport, said about 40 people — including adults and some children — attended a going-away party on March 5.
The New Canaan man, who was described as elderly, remained at Norwalk Hospital on Wednesday, state epidemiologist Matthew Cartter said, delivering the news in a somber tone to mark a new stage of the fight.
This time, Cartter said, there’s no known source where the man contracted the disease — and that changes the picture for the state. With this diagnosis, Cartter said, Connecticut — especially Fairfield County — must react as though COVID-19 is spreading inside the state’s borders.
“We’re assuming this is a case of community transfer of the disease,” Cartter said at a briefing in the state’s emergency operations center at the state armory in Hartford.
A message left with a Norwalk Hospital spokeswoman was not immediately returned and Cartter did not provide the man’s condition.
There is no known connection between the man and the Westport case, officials said, but the broader link is clear. From this point, Cartter said, people with flu-like symptoms, certainly in the southwestern part of the state, should assume they may have COVID-19 and act accordingly.
“This isn’t like the other two cases where the person became ill right after returning from California, or right after returning from Nevada,” Cartter said.
Cartter was referring to a Wilton man in his 40s who contracted the coronavirus while on a business trip to California and is now in Danbury Hospital; and a Bethlehem woman in her 60s with a confirmed case of the virus, who works at Bridgeport Hospital and is believed to have contracted the illness while on a trip to Nevada.
Cartter suggested there will be a wave over the next six to eight weeks, then an abatement.
“It may well be that we have a second wave in the fall,” he said — not based on knowledge of this new virus, but rather on the patterns of viral respiratory infections generally.
The number of people being tracked for contacts with known or suspected patients who have COVID-19 is growing but that tracking may only last for another week to 10 days, Cartter said. By then, caution will require everyone to assume if they have flu-like symptoms and difficulty breathing, that they have contracted the novel coronavirus.
“After that, there will be so many cases, it won’t be practical,” Cartter said.
In the Westport case, Cooper said, the man who reported he has the disease did not suffer symptoms until he returned to his 五福彩票注册送15元 country五福彩票注册送15元. Officials did not disclose where he lives.
“We are seeking his medical records to confirm it’s a correct diagnosis,” Cooper said, adding the man verbally told his department of the diagnosis.
“We have just learned that a number of Westport parents and Westport Public School students, in schools throughout our district, were in contact with an individual presumed to be positive with coronavirus,” Interim Westport Superintendent David Abbey wrote in an email.
Cooper said the health district is contacting everyone at the party to assess their condition to reduce any potential spread.
“There is no positive confirmations of anyone having COVID-19 in Westport right now,” he said, adding those who have flu-like symptoms should presume it is COVID-19.
Human Resources Director John Bayers said schools were informed early Wednesday of the gathering that took place last week.
“Understanding that this could impact many of our schools, we made the decision we need to close our schools to make sure things were being taken care of,” Bayers said.
Schools are now also closed in nearby Wilton, Weston and New Canaan. In addition, Nathan Hale School in New Haven and Lauralton Hall in Milford will close because of concerns parents or adults were exposed to coronavirus, officials said Wednesday.
With community transfer likely underway, Cartter said, it’s highly likely there are more cases that have not yet been diagnosed in the state, especially in Fairfield County.
He would not speculate on the numbers but said the state lab is only able to process 40 to 60 tests a day, up from a much smaller number earlier this week. As of Wednesday, 74 had been tested with 16 pending, and three positive results.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed it will provide $7.1 million to Connecticut in support of the state’s response COVID-19. That money is part of the $8.3 billion in federal funding authorized by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump last week, about $1 million of which will go directly to states.