SHELTON - Three city residents who tested positive for the coronavirus have died, according to data released by area health officials Tuesday.

This brings the total of COVID-19-related deaths in the city to four, with a total of 48 residents testing positive for the virus. Naugatuck Valley Health District officials stated that the number of positives in Shelton jumped by 14 in the past 24 hours.

“Today is another somber day for the Naugatuck Valley community,” said NVHD Director Jessica Stelmaszek. “We offer our sincerest and heartfelt condolences to the families of three additional individuals who passed away after testing positive for COVID-19.”

The three who died were two males in their 80s and one female in her 90s. On March 26, a city resident in his 80s died. Stelmaszek said that person was tested for the virus postmortem. No specific information was available on the three Shelton residents, but Stelmaszek said she is working in conjunction with state and local authorities to obtain more information.

“We offer our condolences to the families of those who have passed away here,” said city Public Safety Director Mike Maglione.

Maglione said a number of 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.

“Positive cases are scattered throughout the city,” said Maglione. “That is why we constantly reinforce social distancing. Stay away from crowds … and wash your hands.”

Stelmaszek said individuals experiencing grief, anxiety or stress can visit http://www.nvhd.org/coping/ for resources.

The health district, in a release last week, stated that “community spread/transmission is now occurring in the Valley. People have been infected with the virus, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected. Please practice social distancing and stay home as much as possible.”

In all, there are 105 residents in the Naugatuck Valley that as of 5 p.m. March 31 had tested positive for COVID-19. Most of the positive tests have been from Shelton, followed by 17 in Ansonia, 16 in Naugatuck, 11 in Seymour, nine in Derby, and four in Beacon Falls.

The NVHD states that, of the 105 testing positive in the Valley, eight men and 11 women are 80 and older; six men and four women are between 70 and 79; eight men and eight women between 60 and 69; 11 women and one man are between 50 and 59; eight men and seven women between 40 and 49; 10 men and 14 women are between 30 and 39; and three men and six women are between 20 and 29.

Statewide, as of March 31, there were more than 3,100 confirmed cases and 69 reported deaths, including four from Shelton. Gov. Ned Lamont’s executive orders have shuttered all schools until at least April 20, and closed all “nonessential” businesses, until further notice. Lamont said last week that schools may remain closed until the fall, and there can be no gatherings of more than five people.

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

The NVHD defines a “person under investigation” as anyone who has been identified as someone who may have the virus that causes COVID-19 or who was under investigation but tested negative.

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

The NVHD release states that the physician who ordered the coronavirus test for the patient and health district staff will contact individuals who test positive for COVID-19.

“Those individuals will remain in quarantine at their homes,” stated the NVHD release. “Individuals who reside in the same household as a laboratory confirmed positive case will also be required to self-quarantine at their home. Health department staff will work with the patients to investigate and determine if additional individuals need to be notified or require 14-day self-monitoring periods at home. If an individual is inpatient or in a healthcare facility, that facility will lead the investigation.”

Stelmaszek said health district officials are “hopeful that some of our residents will start meeting criteria to come out of self-isolation. Most individuals in Connecticut will not have a test to determine if they are still contagious.”

People with COVID-19 who have remained home isolated can stop home isolation under the following conditions:

They have had no fever for at least 72 hours — three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers, and;

other symptoms— a cough or shortness of breaths — have improved; and

at least seven days have passed since the symptoms first appeared.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com