SHELTON — Six more coronavirus-related deaths and more than 40 positives were recorded over the past 24 hours, as local officials say COVID-19 cases are spread throughout the city.

Shelton has 37 COVID-19-related deaths and 202 positive cases, according to data released by the Naugatuck Valley Health District Thursday. In total, there have been 39 deaths in the Valley, with two recorded in Seymour, that account for about 10 percent of the total statewide of 380.

“There are 72 different locations (with COVID-19 positives) throughout the city, not counting the nursing homes,” said city Public Safety Director Michael Maglione. “We continue to urge residents to constantly follow social distancing guidelines. Stay away from crowds … and wash your hands.”

All the Shelton deaths reported Thursday were residents of nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Maglione said all these locations in the city have had residents or employees test positive for COVID-19.

“We are not just grieving and mourning the losses of individual families but also for our entire Valley community,” said NVHD Director Jessica Stelmaszek. “We understand residents may feel sad, anxious and stressed because of this outbreak.”

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 Maglione, adding that this is not a determination of the cause of death.

Maglione said last week that several positive cases are in the city’s nursing home community, but the virus is also among the general population. There are five nursing home facilities in Shelton, according to Maglione, housing some 450 residents altogether.

The Valley now has 414 positive cases, with 77 more recorded Thursday. Stelmaszek said that the increase in local cases is largely related to “catch up of data entry by the state Department of Public Health into the shared secure online disease surveillance system as well as the recent implementation of a new method for reporting cases to the DPH by the labs and providers.”

Stelmaszek said the health district is continuing to urge residents to stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing by keeping 6 feet between you and others if you must go out.

“It is evident that we remain in the acceleration phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning we are consistently receiving an increasing number of cases,” said Stelmaszek. “With an increasing number of cases, we can expect that we will continue to see an increased number of COVID-19-related deaths. We expect the Valley cases to continue to rise over the next few days.”

To minimize the amount of people who can potentially be exposed, Stelmaszek said families should designate one person per household to do grocery shopping or other necessary errands. Those going out in public should wear a cloth face covering, she added.

Of the Valley deaths, 30 were people 80 and older, eight were between 70 and 79, and one was between 60 and 69 years of age.

Gov. Ned Lamont announced Thursday that the state, overall, has a total of 380 COVID-19-related deaths. Statewide, there are 9,784 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 4,882 in Fairfield County alone, and there are more than 1,400 presently hospitalized.

In Shelton, positive cases rose by 42 in 24 hours to 202, by far the most in the Valley. Overall, there are 414 positive cases in the Valley, with 66 in Naugatuck, 53 in Ansonia, 46 in Seymour including two deaths, 32 in Derby and 15 in Beacon Falls.

Data show that 129, or 31 percent, of the 414 confirmed cases among Valley residents are individuals who currently reside in a nursing home, assisted living facility, group home or similar setting. Overall, 101 of Shelton’s 202 confirmed COVID-19 cases are residents of nursing or assisting living facilities.

Positive cases cover a wide range of ages, with Valley data showing that 101 people are 80 and older; 46 are between 70 and 79; 60 are between 60 and 69; 62 are between 50 and 59; 58 are between 40 and 49; 59 are between 30 and 39; and 28 are between 20 and 29.

Lamont’s executive orders have shuttered all schools until at least May 20 and directed employees at nonessential businesses to stay home until further notice. Gatherings of more than five people are prohibited. The governor has stated that schools may remain closed until the fall.

“Residents should continue to heed the advice of their chief elected officials,” said Stelmaszek, “and stay home as much as possible and continue to practice social distancing to avoid exposure and further spread of the virus.”

Maglione said there are no plans to close parks, trails or the Shelton High School track, adding that city residents are maintaining social distance, and “we are not seeing groups of 15, 20 people walking together or gathered talking. All the emergency services would like to thank Shelton residents for following social-distance guidelines.”

For more information about making or using cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.

The state Department of Public Health now publishes a report at ct.gov/coronavirus that breaks down positive COVID-19 cases by town.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com