Lauretti: Shelton ready to reopen when given state OK

Shelton City Hall.

Shelton City Hall.

Contributed photo

SHELTON — As state leaders eye reopening the state in early May, Mayor Mark Lauretti said his city is more than ready to get back to work.

Gov. Ned Lamont said in his daily briefing Monday that some Connecticut businesses could begin reopening in as few as seven to 10 days if the decline in coronavirus hospitalizations continued. Lamont said the state is halfway to a 14-day benchmark on hospitalization declines established by the White House’s coronavirus task force.

Lauretti said the city has “not closed” and has remained “pretty operational” throughout the pandemic.

“We are ready to go,” said Lauretti, adding that all he needs is final word from state leaders to bring city operations back to normal function, with face masks and social distancing becoming part of the initial reopening.

Lauretti said he has asked board and commission chairs to begin scheduling meetings as he looks to keep city business moving forward.

“We have to continue and progress despite our government,” said Lauretti.

The mayor said he does not know the ultimate financial or personnel impact the state-mandated shutdown will have on Shelton — and he does not think state leaders or medical professionals have a grasp on what will be left in the wake of the decision to close the state.

In late March, Lauretti closed the Shelton Senior Center, Shelton Community Center and city libraries. City parks, trails and playgrounds have remained open, as has the Shelton High School track, which is available to no more than 50 people at any one time.

To those critics of his decision to leave parks, trails and other outdoor operations open, Lauretti said “if it is not safe to walk on a golf course or walk on a trail, we’re all doomed. Let’s not kid ourselves.”

Public Safety Director Michael Maglione said that plexiglass dividers will be installed in the city clerk and tax assessor offices, city employees have been issued masks and gloves, Lysol wipe dispensers have been installed throughout the building and hand-washing dispensers have been placed outside the city clerk and tax assessor offices.

Maglione said he hopes that city operations will return to some sense of normalcy come June 1, but no formal plans have been discussed. Lamont has ordered all nonessential businesses and schools remain closed until May 20 at the earliest.

The Naugatuck Valley Health District released information Friday that has reported 82 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 deaths. Probable coronavirus associated deaths stand at 17, meaning Shelton could have 99 total deaths related to the pandemic.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with their families,” said NVHD Director Jessica Stelmaszek.

Stelmaszek stated that the addition of probable COVID-19 associated death data are now being reported in response to the state of Connecticut reporting probable death data.

“Our condolences continue go out to the families and friends of those who have passed away,” said Maglione, adding that, beside the vast number in the nursing homes and assisted living facilities, there are more than 190 different spots with individuals testing positive throughout Shelton.

Data show that 289, or 27 percent, of the 1,084 confirmed cases among Valley residents are individuals who currently reside in a nursing home, assisted living facility, group home or similar setting. Overall, 190 of Shelton’s 415 confirmed COVID-19 cases are residents of nursing or assisting living facilities.

According to NVHD data, 103, or 36 percent, of the 289 individuals have died due to COVID-19 complications.

Statewide, positive cases sit at more than 28,764 — 11,612 of those in Fairfield County — with 2,339 deaths from COVID-19-related complications. Overall, there are 1,592 people — a drop of 58 in 24 hours — hospitalized with COVID-19. The numbers have prompted Gov. Ned Lamont to order that all residents wear masks or facial coverings when in public while also maintaining social distancing if leaving their home is necessary.

For public health surveillance, laboratory-confirmed COVID-19-associated deaths are defined as patients who tested positive for COVID-19 around the time of death, said Stelmaszek, adding that this is not a determination of the cause of death.

Area health district officials are continuing to urge residents to stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing by keeping six feet between you and others if you must go out. To minimize the amount of people who can be exposed, Stelmaszek said families should designate one person per household to do grocery shopping or other necessary errands.

Of the Valley laboratory-confirmed COVID-19-related deaths, 84 were people 80 and older, 24 were between 70 and 79, five were between 60 and 69 years of age, and one was between 40 and 49.

Beside Shelton’s 415 positive cases reported Friday, there were 185 in Naugatuck, 177 in Ansonia, 159 in Seymour, 111 in Derby and 37 in Beacon Falls.

Positive cases cover a wide range of ages, with Valley data showing that 212 people are 80 and older; 98 are between 70 and 79; 166 are between 60 and 69; 175 are between 50 and 59; 168 are between 40 and 49; 141 are between 30 and 39; 110 are between 20 and 29; 13 between 10 and 19 years of age; and one between ages 0 and 9.