MONROE — The town’s positive coronavirus cases rose to 32 Thursday, up nine from the previous day, according to state health department data.

The rising number of positive tests and deaths statewide forced Gov. Ned Lamont to keep most businesses and schools shuttered until May 20. First Selectman Ken Kellogg has stated that he expects the number of positive cases to rise in the coming days and urges residents to continue to stay home if possible and practice social distancing when in public.

“As many families are celebrating holidays, please remember that we must continue to keep each other safe,” said Kellogg. “This pandemic requires us to not only change our routines but also find ways to modify our deeply held traditions.

“Please find ways to connect with both your faith and your family while practicing social distancing,” added Kellogg.

Overall, Monroe has 32 positive COVID-19 cases, with more than 9,700 having tested positive statewide. In Fairfield County, more than 4,800 have tested positive. There have been 380 COVID-19-related deaths statewide.

In Monroe, ages of those who have tested positive range from 20s to 70s. In all, three people between 70 and 79 years old have tested positive, with 10 between 60 and 69, seven between 50 and 59, three between 40 and 49, three between 30 and 39 and three 20 and 29 years of age.

“We have confirmed with the state that the new cases reported to us in the last couple of days come from a wide testing date range, anywhere from three to 10 days ago,” said Kellogg in his update released Thursday.

“We should expect more cases, just as our neighboring towns are experiencing,” added Kellogg. “Additionally, as we continue to see increased overall testing in the state, there will also be more laboratory-confirmed cases. We are in an area of a state that continues to see an increase, so social distancing is more important than ever before.”

Of Monroe’s neighboring communities, Shelton remains the hardest hit, with 202 positive cases and 37 COVID-19-related deaths, the majority of whom were residents of one of the five nursing or assisted living facilities in the city. Trumbull has 95 positive tests, Newtown 55, Oxford 29 and Easton 14.

Kellogg said that the town’s first responders remain on duty for the town’s residents.

“For their safety and yours, please remember that 911 is for true emergencies,” said Kellogg. “In particular, volunteer firefighters have been experiencing an increase in neighbors calling in brush fires, which are later determined to be small, controlled campfires or burning of sticks from yard clean up, all in accordance with a permit issued by the Office of the Fire Marshal.”

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com